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Dietrich Bonhoeffer Advent Preaching Seminar 2010 Good Shepherd Institute Concordia Theological Seminary.

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Presentation on theme: "Dietrich Bonhoeffer Advent Preaching Seminar 2010 Good Shepherd Institute Concordia Theological Seminary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dietrich Bonhoeffer Advent Preaching Seminar 2010 Good Shepherd Institute Concordia Theological Seminary

2 Early Years Born on February 4, 1906 to Karl & Paula in Breslau. Studied in Tübingen and Berlin. Acceptance of Sanctorum Communio as doctoral dissertation at University of Berlin in Vicar for German congregation in Barcelona in Acceptance of Act and Being as qualifying thesis at Berlin in 1930.

3 Bonhoeffer Chronology-Cont In , Bonhoeffer studied at Union Seminary in New York City.

4 Bonhoeffer Chronology-Cont Becomes a lecturer in theology at University of Berlin (1931) Ordained at St. Matthew’s Church in Berlin (1931). Serves as pastor of German congregations in London ( ).

5 Zingst 1935 A seminary of the Confessing Church on the Baltic Sea.

6 Finkenwalde The seminary was relocated from Zingst to Finkenwalde in June It would be closed by the Gestapo in 1937.

7 Influence of Zingst and Finkenwalde Bonhoeffer’s experience in the life of the seminary would shape this writing of Life Together (1938) and Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible (1940).

8 The Struggle Continues After Finkenwalde, Bonhoeffer and his seminarians serve congregations in Pomerania. Bonhoeffer travels to America in the summer of Returns to Germany and continues to be involved in the church struggle against the Nazis.

9 For an account of Lutheran resistance to National Socialism, see the new book by Lowell Green

10 Imprisonment Bonhoeffer in arrested on April 5, 1943 and incarcerated at the Tegel Prison in Berlin.

11 Executed Executed on April 9, 1945 at Flossenbürg.

12 Meditating on the Word by Dietrich Bonhoeffer In a 1936 letter to his brother-in-law, Rudiger Schleicher, a layman whose theology was in line with the liberalism of Adolph von Harnack, Bonhoeffer wrote: “Any other place outside the Bible has become too uncertain for me. I fear that I will only encounter some divine double of myself there. Does this somehow help you to understand why I am prepared for a sacrificium intellectus – just in these matters, and only in these matters, with respect to the one, true God! And who does not bring to some passages his sacrifice of the intellect, in the confession that he does not yet understand this or that passage of Scripture, but is certain that even they will be revealed one day as God’s own Word? I would rather make that confession than try to say according to my own opinion: this is divine, that is human” (Meditating on the Word, 37)

13 Commenting on Psalm 119, Bonhoeffer writes: “Where the Word is at home with me, I am able to find my way in a strange land – to find what is right where there is injustice, a place to stand where there is uncertainty, strength for my work, and patience in time of sorrow” (Meditating on the Word,129)

14 Advent Themes in Bonhoeffer’s Preaching Some of Bonhoeffer’s most poignant preaching comes on the last Sundays of the Church Year and in Advent. Eschatological focus on perishing of sinful humanity in the light of God’s eternity. Judgment and hope. The cross is decisive in this preaching, not apocalyptic speculation: “the end time in the Bible is the whole of time and every day between the death of Christ and the last judgment” (Testament to Freedom, )

15 Advent Themes-Cont Bonhoeffer’s preaching issues a call to repentance and life in the face of death. In a sermon preached on November 19, 1933 in London Bonhoeffer speaks of God letting us know what the last judgment is, “so that we might perceive what life is. God lets it be known today so that we may all the more passionately, all the more eagerly, seize the promise of grace, so that we might recognize that we do not stand before God in our own strength, lest we should perish before God; that in spite of everything God does not desire our death, but rather our life” (A Testament to Freedom, 218)

16 Advent Themes-Cont Bonhoeffer delighted in Advent, perhaps because so much of his life seemed to be spent in waiting. Bonhoeffer’s Advent preaching reflects the penitential character of the season but it is repentance fulfilled in Christ who comes to rescue sinners.

17 Sermon on Advent IV (December 21,1930) in Havana, Cuba on Deuteronomy 32:48-52 (DBW 10: )

18 Advent IV Sermon The seriousness of Advent. Moses is a figure of Advent for he lives with unfulfilled hope; he is only given a glimpse of the promised land. “Why must Moses die in view of the promise?” (DBW 10:586) At Christmas, God’s promise is fulfilled and we will not die but live. Advent calls us to wait on this fulfillment and so inherit eternal life.

19 Advent IV Sermon-cont The message of Advent becomes a “disturbing penitential sermon for us” (DBW 10:588) and this is as it must be. Before Jesus stands John the Baptist, before Christmas stands Advent. It is only through repentance that we come to the fulfillment of Christmas. Now we live by the promise in the midst of our misery as we wait for the good news a heaven torn open to give us God’s own Son wrapped in our humanity. Also see Bonhoeffer’s poem from September 1944, “The Death of Moses” in DBW 8:

20 A Sermon on Revelation 3:20 (“Behold I stand at the door and knock”) on the First Sunday in Advent 1928 (DBW, 10: )

21 Sermon on Advent I 1928 “Celebrating Advent means meaning able to wait” (DBW 10:542) Waiting and fulfillment go together: “Those unfamiliar with the bitter bliss of waiting, of doing without while maintaining hope, will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment” (DBW 10:542) Images of waiting: courtship, farming Enemies of waiting: self-satisfaction, greed

22 Sermon on Advent I 1928-cont “Only people who carry a certain restlessness around with them can wait, and people who look up reverently to the One who is great in the world. Hence only those whose souls give them no peace are able to celebrate Advent, who feel poor and incomplete and who sense something of the greatness of what is coming, before which one can only bow in humble timidity, in anticipation till God inclines toward us – the Holy One, God in the child in the manger” (DBW 10:542)

23 Sermon on Advent I 1928 (cont.) Then Bonhoeffer makes a turn in the sermon the coming of Christ to save. In our world of evil and death, Advent brings homesickness….who can offer redemption ?

24 Sermon on Advent 1928 Cont “A groan wrests itself from our breast, ‘Come, God, Lord Jesus Christ, come into our world, into our homelessness, into our sin, into our death, come you yourself, and share with us, be a human being as we are and conquer for us….Come along into my death, into my sufferings and struggles, and make me holy and pure despite this evil, despite death” (DBW 10:543). This cry is answered with the promise that Jesus stands at the door and knocks.

25 Sermon on Advent 1928 cont The voice of Jesus is soft and easily drowned out by the loud and noisy “market barkers and advertisers” who “extol their rotten wares.” Jesus’ coming brings both terror and joy. We become dulled to the message of the Lord’s coming. Christ comes now and He summons us in and through the lives of the neighbor.

26 Sermon on Advent I 1928 cont “Christ walks the earth as long as there are people, as your neighbor, as the person through whom God summons you, addresses you, make claims on you. That is the most serious and most blessed part of the Advent message. Christ is at the door; he lives in the form of those around us. Will you close the door or open it for him?” (DBW 10:545)

27 Sermon on Advent I 1928 cont All of our Advents are permeated by a yearning for the final Advent with the promise, “See, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5) “The time of Advent is a time of waiting, though our entire life is a time of Advent, a time of waiting for that final time when a new heaven and a new earth will emerge….Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus. Amen” (DBW 10:546)

28 Sermon on Luke 21:28 (DBW 13: ) preached on December 3, 1933 (Advent I) in London

29 Advent I Sermon Using a recent mining accident to lead into the sermon, Bonhoeffer speaks of a trapped miner jumping with excitement and anticipation as he hears the hammer blows of the rescue party. We are trapped, imprisoned when the Savior draws near to us. The word of Advent will not be heard by those who are “well-satisfied with their full stomachs” (DBW 13:339) but by those who are hungry and thirsty.

30 Advent I Sermon -cont Advent announces a coming redemption whether we know it or not. Do you want it? “That such a genuine Advent produces something quite different from a fearful, petty, downtrodden, weak sort of Christianity, such as we often see, and which tempts us to be scornful of Christianity itself, that is made clear by two powerful challenges that introduce our text. Look up, lift your heads! Advent makes people human, new human beings. We, too, can become new human beings at Advent time” (DBW 13:340).

31 Advent I Sermon-cont “Look up, you there who staring emptily down at earth” (DBW 13:341). This is a word for those whose eyes have been turn away from heaven only to weep at that which the world has mercilessly taken from them. Lift up your heads bowed down in defeat and humiliation. Heaven is really bending near earth! Rescue is near….God is coming to us where we live.

32 Sermon on Luke 1:46-55 (Advent III) preached in London on December 17, 1933 (DBW 13: )

33 Advent III Sermon Bonhoeffer sees Mary’s song as oldest Advent hymn. Mary knows better than anyone else what it means to wait for Christ’s coming: “In her own body she is experiencing the wonderful ways of God with humankind: that God does not arrange matters to suit our opinions and views, does not follow the path that humans would like to prescribe. God’s path is free and original beyond our ability to understand or to prove” (DBW 13:343)

34 Advent III Sermon-cont “God in the midst of lowliness – that is the revolutionary, passionate word of Advent” (DBW 13:343). God chooses the wife of “a working man” to become the mother of God. God is not ashamed of human lowliness. “What people say is lost, God says is found” (DBW 13:344). To call Mary blessed does not mean to built altars to her but to join with her in saying, “Let it be to me according to your word” (DBW 13:344)

35 Advent III Sermon-cont When God comes into the world in the flesh at Bethlehem, there is a complete reversal of all things on this earth (DBW 13:345). The throne of God is now set “in humanity’s deepest abyss, in the manger” (DBW 13:345). The manger and cross are the places that strike terror to the great and powerful of the world. “No one who holds power dares to come near the manger; King Herod did not dare. For here thrones begin to sway, the powerful fall down, and those who are rich come to naught, because God is here with the lowly” (DBW 13:346)

36 Other Items from Bonhoeffer Sermon on Isaiah 9:6-7 for Christmas Day, 1940 (DBW 16: ) “Liturgy for a Seminar Worship Service” –Christmas Celebration in Berlin on December 20, 1932 (DBW 12: )


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