Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.28.2011

Devil's Cucumbers

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I do love it when people think well of me.  When I can drop a story that casts myself in an angelic light.  When I can share a tidbit of information that nobody else knew, yet that fascinates everybody.  When I can avoid revealing my weaknesses and counsel everybody else on theirs.  When I can receive compliments oh so graciously, not worrying all too much about encouraging others. 

A short time ago, I observed a slender emerald sprout growing in the garden of my heart.  At first the sprout looked promising, like the honeysuckle of wisdom or the rose of love.  Instead, it soon blossomed into a cucumber.  Such a plant one should cherish and nurture!  Thus I evidently did, unconsciously, because my cucumber of pride soon revealed itself to be what my family calls a "poisonous cucumber,"  a plant also nicknamed, "devil's cucumber."

These plants produce fruit that look temptingly akin to luscious cucumbers, but are in fact poisonous.  They spread like food poisoning at a summer picnic, ejecting their devilish seeds into the ground, and their vines are like corkscrews that bind nearby plants and suffocate them completely.  The lily of humility was the first to go, and then the fern of sincerity followed, withering away into a dead mass of brown wilted leaves.

Soon enough, I glanced in at the garden of my heart and saw only poison cucumbers everywhere, sapping strength from my soul and releasing a repulsive aroma.  Strangely, the lily of humility and fern of sincerity I had sweated and labored to grow still always remained somewhat sickly and invalid.  Yet this poison cucumber, without me even realizing it or shedding a drop of sweat, had infested the entire plot. 

As I surveyed this disaster, I finally realized that my thumb was most decidedly brown, and I have decided to call in the Master Gardener.  I have previously been treating Him as the weeder:  "Can you weed out the poison cucumber of pride, the squash of confidence, the blackberry of self-pity?  Please?"  And He does root out those infestations, but then I get right back in the garden like a giddy three year old, throwing seeds willy-nilly and growing only those same pests again. 

So I resign.  I am no longer the supervisor of sowing, the president of pest-protection, or the manager of manuring.  From now on I am the humble worker under the Head Gardener.  I will weed and manure-spread and water only as the Master Gardener gives direction.  He will weed out those poison cucumbers, I will tote them away in the wheelbarrow He gives me, and He will plant lilies.  He knows exactly how much sunlight of His face to give those lilies, how much living water, how many droughts of difficulty they need.  Because He is the Master Gardener and lilies of humility are His speciality. 

10.25.2011

God, the Great Musician

At the beach this weekend with some girlfriends, we were studying Psalms 23 together one morning, and pondering on all the details David included which only a shepherd would know. David related God to something he knew best--shepherding--and the result has touched billions. So Sarah wondered--what if we wrote a Psalm to God based on what we know best or do most often? I challenged my friends to do just that, and here is my attempt at the project.


Photo Credit

The Lord is my composer;
He wrote my life's song outside of time.
He brought me to earth
with His song on my heart.
His song I rejected,
and His music I did not follow,
until He opened my ears.
And now, Oh Lord,
I will play Your music
with every breath I have.
I will watch for Your direction
and play to my utmost.
But help me, dear Father!
For I am weak, and an unskilled musician.
I cannot see the next measure,
nor hear the themes as I play;
I do not appreciate the dissonances
in my haste to get to the consonances.
I balk at playing the harmony
when the melody is lauded and appreciated.
God, I look at the four beats
Your Word has illuminated to me,
And I know--I cannot play even those notes.
So God, here: take my instrument, my life.
Play me for Your glory.
You Who know the exposition,
development, and recapitulation;
You, Who do all things beautifully;
You Who are perfect and omniscient;
You Who hear with perfect pitch;
You Whose fingers never miss;
You Who are my composer;
Play me, Father, for the rest of my life.


 

Photo Credit: HeedinttheMuses. Used by permission.

10.21.2011

Lilla Rose Giveaway!

Ever since I had any hair to speak of, I have loved my hair “pretties,” as the girls in my family have always called them.  Flowered headbands, bejeweled bobby pins, cute barrettes…they all catch my eye.  As I’ve grown older, however, my hair pretty box has shrunk, primarily because I have grown more particular in my tastes—construction-vest orange scrunchies on symmetrical sides of one’s head do not a hairstyle make.  Other doodads are eliminated because they hurt my head, or because they can’t handle my mid-back length yet fine and stick-straight hair. 

Several weeks ago, Mrs. Bambi Moore contacted me about the possibility of holding a giveaway for the Lilla Rose flexi-clip.  She is a consultant for Lilla Rose and offered to send Mikaela and I each a clip to test and review, and then she would do a giveaway for you all.  Having a hunch that you guys just might enjoy hair pretties as much as I do, I agreed!

I had heard of flexi clips before, but had never tried anything like them.  When I received the clips in the mail, I first noticed how elegant and lovely they are—they definitely meet my criteria for beauty in a hair accessory! 

I got the clip in extra small for a half-up style, and Mikaela chose medium for a french twist-type style.  I was worried about choosing the correct size, but I measured my ponytail, followed the helpful styling video and instructions on the Lilla Rose site, and both sizes ended up being perfect! 

The clips are easy to put in as well.  For the half-up style, the clip stays put in my fine, slick hair quite nicely.  I do like a lot of “pouf” and shape in the front for this style, and the flexi clip wouldn’t hold that pouf in place.  One bobby pin was all it took to give me the desired look, and then the flexi clip worked beautifully.  I will definitely be wearing this style in the future. 

I loved the look of the half-up style with the flexi clip, but the medium size clip with a french twist is even more stunning!  Again, for my hair I “pouf” it with a few bobby pins, then twist the rest of the hair up and secure with the clip.  The style Lilla Rose calls “tails up” is one I’ve rarely been able to master with a hair claw, but I love how it looks with the flexi clip.  I know I will be turning to this style a lot in the future! 

Now on to the exciting part…the giveaway! 

Rules for the Giveaway: 
-You must be a follower of One Bright Corner
-You must live in the US or Canada
-You must enter first with one mandatory entry, and then leave any extra entries in separate comments.
-Mandatory entry: Visit Lilla Rose and pick your favorite flexi-clip style, then come back and leave a comment saying which one was your favorite. 
-Extra entry: follow Nursery of the Nation (Mrs. Moore's blog and the place to find out about the latest Lilla Rose sales!) and leave a separate comment stating that you did so.
-Extra entry: Blog about this giveaway and leave a separate comment with a link to your post.
-Extra entry: Put the One Bright Corner blog button on your sidebar and leave a separate comment stating that you did so. 


The giveaway will run through November 4th, 11:59 PM, Pacific time.  The winner will be chosen at random and announced within the next few days on this blog.  The winner then has 48 hours to comment with his or her email address or a new winner will be chosen.  When the winner comments with the email address, the address will not be published, but it will be emailed to Bambi Moore who will get in contact with you and mail you the voucher for a flexi-clip valued at $15 or less. 

10.18.2011

Elements of Stylish Blogging

Both Lauren and I have loved writing since we were five or six, when we penned “books” and peddled them to our customers (read: parents). Since then, we have continued to work on books, together and separately, have written a great deal for high school and college, and have participated in a myriad of writing contests. And of course, there has been One Bright Corner which has allowed us to hone our writing every single week for the past 2 ½ years. We are certainly not the most experienced, successful, or excellent writers you will find, but if passion compensates for other areas of weakness, then we are good to go!




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During our blogoversary, Ruthie had this question for Lauren and me: "I would love to someday read your tips and ideas for writing a good blog post. It is obvious you have penned some good posts, considering your large following and being named 'Blog of Note.'" Ruthie herself is an excellent writer, so I'm somewhat baffled as to why she would ask us for writing tips, but I will do my best. There are certainly some principles we have kept in mind all this time, and they seem to have worked well, so I’ll share them now in hopes that they might help you!

Watch Your Length
The internet is synonymous with “short attention span,” and even I am guilty of SAS when combing through blogs. As I start to read and scroll and read and scroll, the likelihood of making it to the end becomes less and less. We always aim for one Microsoft Word page (500-600 words); if your post is longer, consider breaking it up into a series or editing for clarity and precision.

Mind Your Linguistics
Always take the time to spell check your blog post, but even that isn’t enough. Comb the post carefully for typos, rambling, punctuation errors, and such. Go easy on the emoticons, and avoid them whenever possible—challenge yourself to express your meaning using a thesaurus rather than a colon and parenthesis!

I usually know what I’m blogging on three to four days in advance, and I spend those days mulling over my chosen topic and planning my approach. I aspire to write engaging, interesting posts that inspire and convict, and are easy to grasp, yet do not sink to sloppiness. These are tough goals that I do not always attain, or even usually attain, but taking the time to plan and even outline my blog post helps immensely.

Obtain Help
Without fail, Lauren and I proofread each other’s articles, and this has proved invaluable. Many are the times the other person will catch an error or point out a misunderstood statement. In the blogging world, where so much is instant and so little can be taken back, it is always wonderful to have another person with whom to cogitate. Even more importantly, however, is God's feedback. Do not neglect to seek guidance and help from God and His Word; ascertain that every point you make is Biblically based, or leave it out.

Of course, there are other things we work on too, like eye-pleasing formatting; eye-catching pictures; consistency in posting; citing all pictures, quotes, and information sources used; and enjoying further conversation with our readers in the comment section. These and all the other principles I shared are certainly not rules, and they are not boxes that we manage to check confidently with every single blog post. You will find typos, lengthy and uninteresting posts, and statements that can be misunderstood if you look for them! Neveretheless, these are the goals Lauren and I work towards every single week, and I hope you have found them helpful yourself!



Photo Credit: Bob Aubuchon

10.14.2011

10,000 Polaks at a Festival

If you know me personally or have been following my blog for a time, then you know that Mikaela and I are Polish and proud of it.  I have blogged about my adventures in pierogi making, shared with you my tribute to my German-born, Polish-married great-grandmother when she died last year, and Mikaela posted a video of our family going all out in a skit on Polish reformer Jan Laski.

But several weeks ago on a blustery Sunday afternoon, my family's reveling in our Polish heritage found a new outlet: a nearby Polish festival.  I had heard rumors of such a thing back in the spring, and have been inwardly dancing the polka ever since.  We entered a little Poland, filled with the Polish language, Polish costumes, very Polish-looking people (apparently 10,000 of them attend the festival over the weekend!), and, of course, Polish music!  The first thing to draw our ears was the luminous sound of Chopin wafting through the kielbasa-scented air.  We crept up to the stage where an interpretive ballet set to a Chopin piece was underway. 

Soon, however, the trickle of rain turned into a torrent that began to drench us. 

We ducked into the nearest shelter: the pastry building!  We quickly found that to be a delightfully good choice, and salivated over the Polish pastries the Polish grandmas were cutting. 
"My kids are Polish," Mama explained to the pastry lady behind the table.  She sized us up with one swift glance, then said knowingly in her lovely Polish accent, "Oh, but they were not born in Poland, right? They are like my kids, then."  We all immediately wished we had been born in Poland. 

The monsoon soon evaporated into a drizzle, and people shook off their collars, emerged from their hiding places, and chatter and music and food lines commenced as before.  By this time, we only had so much self-restraint left in reserve after smelling and seeing Polish food but not tasting it.  It was all we could do to withold ourselves from swiping a pierogi off of a complete stranger's plate.  In order to preclude such an event, we quickly voted to sweep the food tents for the best possible goodies. 
Clockwise from left: Delicious kielbasa, a dinner roll sitting on top of bigos, Polish hunter's stew consisting predominantly of sauerkraut, a pierogi ruskie, Polish dumpling stuffed with a mix of potatoes, onions, and farmer's cheese, a pierogi z kapusta, Polish dumpling with aa mix of sauerkraut and mushrooms, golabki, cabbage rolls with a mix of meat and rice, topped with a tomato sauce, and sour cream for topping.  Not shown are the potato pancakes, placki ziemniaczane, which were delicious and came with sour cream, ketchup, or applesauce for topping.  Once we had stuffed ourselves to our fullest capacity with these delicacies, we wandered back to the stage area. 

A polka contest was just beginning, commencing with the children. 

Who could possibly not smile while observing that little blondie's delight?  Or what about the woman with the blue headwrap in the background, blissfully clapping along with the fabulous polka music?  Our family wasn't completely clear on just what dancing the polka looked like, and we still weren't clear by the time the kid's competition was over, but at least all the kids had fun! 

Next began the adult competition.  The accordian player began pointing people out in the crowd and forcing them to come compete.  If they dared refuse, he would "bawk" with his loudest chicken imitation into the microphone until they had to give in! 

This adorable couple captured our hearts from the beginning!  Doesn't the man look like a Polish gentleman from the 19th century?  I was standing behind a group of Polish grandpas who were rooting vociferously for this couple as well, so much so that one of the judges had to announce, laughingly, that "This is not Polish Idol!"  However, when this rosy-cheeked couple was announced as the first place winner in the polka competition, one of the grandpas in front of me let out a huzzah and exclaimed, "I knew they would win!" 

Later on, we danced to some lively waltzes, making up our own steps as we went along.  Susanna and Mikaela enjoyed themselves! 

 My cousin Aimee joined us for the afternoon.  Don't you think she makes a convincing Polish lady?

Is that Jonah masquerading there?


After touring the vendors and investing in some Polish candy, the pastry building was calling our names once more.  Mama tried this delicious poppyseed cake. 

Aimee chose the Polish cheesecake which, while different from American cheesecake, was still tasty! 

Papa and I got the paczki, a traditional Polish doughnut with what we decided was a plum filling.  This homemade doughnut definitely ranks in the top five tastiest doughnuts I have ever had!   


With those sweet treats, our time at the Polish Festival came to a close.  The food was gone  On the way home, we chattered about the dances we had danced, the food we had tasted, and the sights we had seen.  It was a wonderfully rich, fun-filled afternoon! 

Last but not least for your viewing pleasure, here is a 25 second video of my sweet grandma demonstrating "This Little Piggy Went to Market" in Polish on Susanna's foot.  The end is guaranteed to make you smile--I know I grin every time I watch it! 

Do widzenia!  Good bye! 

10.11.2011

The Legacy of Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Part Three
Photo Credit
When I read World Magazine’s July 2010 article on their runner-up Book of the Year, I was immediately intrigued. So I asked for Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy for my birthday and was ecstatic to receive it, but also surprised to unwrap a hefty, nearly 600 page book. Could there really be so much to say about a man whose name I couldn’t even pronounce?

This book, which has since reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, is one of those great tomes that is not content to describe only the main subject, but must sprawl into dozens of other foundational subjects as well. Without ever straying from his main purpose, Eric Metaxas manages to cover German history, the Reformation, theology, doctrine, racial tensions in America, culture, the Church in Germany, the financial crisis of the thirties, the rise and fall of the Third Reich, and so much more. Bonhoeffer’s life intersects with all of these details, and so with a greater understanding of these subjects comes a greater understanding of Bonhoeffer himself.

While Dietrich Bonhoeffer can be a most controversial subject, and many liberals have contorted his “religionless Christianity” into a call to postmodern humanism and the “Death of God” movement, Bonhoeffer makes the convincing case that this man was a serious-minded, Biblically-based Christian. Bonhoeffer lived a life centered around Christ: "There arises a more determined quest for him who is the sole object of it all, for Jesus Christ himself. What did Jesus mean to say to us? . . . What we want to know is not, what would this or that man, or this or that Church, have of us, but what Jesus Christ himself wants of us[1].” 
On the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, they have this to say about Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Over the past 50 years, many Christians have been engaged in the process of reexamining the role of the Church in Germany during the Nazi era. What has become evident in this undertaking is the depth of the chasm between the ideals the Church had always set for itself and the way it responded to the brutalization of the German government under Adolf Hitler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the few church leaders who stood in courageous opposition to the Fuehrer and his policies[2].”
Bonhoeffer redefined the Church with his part in the Barmen Declaration, which affirmed Christ to be the head and center of the church. This, during a time when the State was exerting itself to control and censure the church, Scripture, and Christians. Bonhoeffer asserted the inerrance and infallibility of the Word of God amongst academia who studied Scripture for its historical value only. Most importantly, however, Dietrich Bonhoeffer resolutely pursued a life centered on, based on, and led by Jesus Christ:

“We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds: we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use?...Who stands firm?...Only the one for whom the final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these, when in faith and sole allegiance to God he is called to obedient and responsible action: the responsible person, whose life will be nothing but an answer to God’s question and call[3].”
This is the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Not a perfect legacy, by any means, but a legacy that brings one irresistably and constantly back to Christ Jesus our Lord. And this is the legacy that Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy so honestly portrays.






[1] Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Discipleship, John D. Godsey (editor); Geffrey B. Kelly (editor). Fortress Press, 2000.
[3] Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. “After Ten Years,” in Letters and Papers from Prison. Enlarged Edition, Eberhard Bethge, ed. (New York: The Macmillan Company), 1971, 5, 16-17.
 Photo Credit: Bob AuBuchon

10.07.2011

Courageous: The Movie

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Going to see Courageous in the theater last week made several records for me.  It was the first movie I had ever attended in a theater which drew spontaneous applause when the end credits rolled.  Also, never before had I laughed so ridiculously hard or sobbed so much (yes, our whole row was a sniffling, nose-blowing mess!) in a movie.  I have been telling people that I cried through the whole thing: sometimes because I was laughing so hard, and other times because of the heartstrings-tugging storyline.  Then, at the end of the movie, my last record came when I said, “I think this is the best movie I have ever seen!” 

Never fear, I am not going to give away any spoilers for those of you have yet to see the movie, but I am going to urge you to go to the theater to see this movie!  Courageous is made by Sherwood Pictures who have also made Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof.  In my opinion, this is the best movie they have made yet, while others hold that it really is difficult to compare Courageous with Fireproof.  Be that as it may, the videography, storylines, and acting are only improved in this latest movie.  And as a side note, if you are a Sherwood Pictures afficionado, then you will appreciate the subtle references throughout the movie to their past movies; references that only fans would recognize and grasp the humor of.

The poignancy of Courageous lies in its message.  Indeed, it delivers a powerful, significant message to our culture: fathers are the defining influence in a child’s life.  If a father is absent, statistics show that that child will be more likely to take the wrong path towards drugs and jail.  Courageous is not “preachy,” nor does it look at the world through rose-colored glasses.  For some of the families the movie follows, everything is at stake, and some of the fathers are leaders of broken homes, coming face to face with the reality of their past bad decisions.  Courageous decisions have to be made now, however, and a line is drawn in the sand between the courageous and the cowardly. 

I am not a father, but going to see this movie gave me a renewed desire to love, support, and appreciate my father in his leadership of our home.  It brought conviction to my heart to follow after his example more closely, and to be willing to make courageous decisions myself. 

There was nothing offensive in the movie—no inappropriate language or clothing.  What gave it the PG-13 rating was the violence, since the main characters are policemen.  Because of that, it is probably not appropriate for young children.  With that said, however, it is not gory or bloody, but it does contain violence and negative depictions of drug dealing.  
 Joshua 23:6 says,

“Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.”


That verse wholly sums up the message of this God-honoring, life-changing, norm-shattering, thought-provoking, paradigm-shifting, heart-convicting movie.  In 2011, we have all too many people turning aside to the right, and all too many people turning aside to the left.  Courageous lays down the truth: there is only one way to honor God and lead your families in righteousness, and although it will look different in every situation, it will require you to be very courageous.  This is a much-needed message. 

Go see it. 




Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

10.04.2011

Standing Fast

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Part Two

It was a muggy summer’s night. On a beautiful estate in Connecticut, the entire family was asleep, save for one guest, whose light still shone brightly through the window and mingled with the thousands of fireflies flitting about outside. Inside, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was journaling and pondering what had brought him to America in the first place.


He had spent the years since his last visit to the United States in a constant battle against the National Socialist Party. In between teaching and discipling his students at the University of Berlin and successfully teaching a rowdy confirmation class of fifty poor hooligans, the small compromises asked for by the Nazis kept getting bigger and bigger. And so he had fought—the boycotting of Jewish businesses, the burning of “un-German” books, the purging of the Old Testament from Christianity (as if!), the rigged church elections placing Nazis in many key church positions, and the Aryan paragraph allowing only Aryans to hold church office.

And when it became clear that there was no saving the German church, he had aided in the birth of a new church, the Confessing Church, emerging like shining gold from a pot of dross. He had spent several years pastoring a church in England and making good use of the microphone the Free World gave him. And after returning to Germay, he had begun an illegal seminary to educate and train men to lead the Confessing Church.


“Real faith and love were identical for [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]. Here was the very heart and core of the existence of this highly intellectual Christian. We felt it in the improvised prayers of the morning and evening devotions; they sprang from the love of the Lord and of his brethren[1].”
Bonhoeffer soon found himself in an impossible situation—he knew that it was only a matter of time before he was drafted into Hitler’s army, but he also knew that there was no way he could fight for Hitler’s cause. To refuse meant execution. While he did not blame anyone who submitted to the draft, Dietrich knew too much about the real situation of things for his conscience to allow him to fight for such evil.


Bonhoeffer with his parents.
So he had ended up here, in America, to do great things ministering with German refugees in the United States. But now, relaxing at a friend’s country house, he was all unease and fretfulness.

“15th June, 1939—This inactivity, or rather activity in unimportant things, is quite intolerable when one thinks of the brethren and of how precious time is. The whole burden of self-reproach because of a wrong decision comes back again and almost overwhelms one. I was in utter despair [today][2].”

Leaving behind the insanity and darkness of Germany for the freedom and ease of America would be an easy choice for most. Life versus certain death were the fates at the end of either path. Dietrich was not concerned, however, with ease, or life, or freedom, but rather with being in the center of God’s will. “His place was by the side of his hard-pressed brethren and disciples in the ministry and with his own family which was increasingly drawn into the battle between Christ and Antichrist[3].” Bonhoeffer arrived back in Berlin only five days before the attack on Poland, which effectively began World War II.

Although Bonhoeffer continued to write and teach, the Gestapo’s harrassment became increasingly more intense, and with that, options were becoming more limited. Soon, however, a new opportunity presented itself; the Abwehr, a German Military Intelligence agency wanted to make use of him. Dietrich would officially be a Nazi agent, and the Nazis would allow him to continue his pastoral work as a “front” for his Nazi work. Unofficially, however, Dietrich was actually spying on the Nazis and working against the Third Reich[4].



Meanwhile, Bonhoeffer had fallen in love. Through the unique older woman, Ruth von Kleist-Retzow, whom he had known as an aristocratic neighbor of his seminary, Dietrich met her granddaugther, Maria von Wedemeyer. Maria was just eighteen, while Dietrich was thirty-six, and so he kept quiet about his attraction through the summer and autumn of 1942. During that time both Maria’s father and brother were killed in the war, and Dietrich comforted the family as a pastor and friend. Somehow, though, Ruth von Kleist-Retzow decided to play matchmaker and let the cat out of the bag. Once rung, the bell could not be unrung, no matter how inappropriate the timing, and by January 17, 1943, Dietrich and Maria were engaged.

“Dear Pastor Bonhoeffer,
I’ve known, ever since arriving home, that I must write to you, and I’ve looked forward to doing so….
“But because I have experienced that you understand me so well, I now have the courage to write you, although I actually have no right at all to reply to a question you have not even asked me. Today I can say Yes to you from my entire, joyful heart….
Yours, Maria”


Maria von Wedemeyer
Their joy was shortlived, however. Maria asked that they wait six months, not communicating with or seeing each other during that time. But on April 6, 1943, Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo. The Third Reich smelled a conspiracy, but couldn’t quite implicate Bonhoeffer, especially with his well-connected friends, and so he spent the next year and a half at the Tegel military prison, feigning innocence about the whole thing, writing, reading voraciously, and befriending almost everyone he met.

Everything fell apart July 20, 1944 with the failed Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler. A livid Fuhrer rounded up hundreds of spies and their family members—anyone remotely connected to the plot and the Abwher. Bonhoeffer’s involvement was discovered also, and from then on, his days were numbered. On April 9, 1945, Dietrich was hung, only two weeks before US soldiers liberated the camp.

“He had hardly finished his last prayer when the door opened and two evil-looking men in civilian clothes came in and said:
‘Prisoner Bonhoeffer. Get ready to come with us.’ Those words ‘Come with us’—for all prisoners they had come to mean one thing only—the scaffold.
We bade him good-bye—he drew me aside—‘This is the end,’ he said. ‘For me the beginning of life[5].’”
Bonhoeffer, second from the right, at the Tegel prison.

Dietrich wrote often of death in his prison cell—he called it “the supreme festival on the road to freedom[6],” because, for him, death was “sweet and gentle; it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace. How do we know that dying is so dreadful? Who knows whether, in our human fear and anguish we are only shivering and shuddering at the most glorious, heavenly, blessed event in the world[7]?”
Look for a review of the New York Times Bestselling book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas next week!

  

[1] Zimmerman and Smith, editors. I Knew Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 134. Translated by Kathe G. Smith. New York: Harper and Row, 1966.
[2] The Way to Freedom: Letters, Lectures and Notes 1935-1939, vol. 2, Collected Works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, edited by Edwin H. Robertson, translated by Edwin H. Robertson and John Bowden (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), 228-229.
[3] Cresswell, Amos and Maxwell Tow, Dr. Franz Hildebrant: Mr. Valiant for Truth (Grand Rapids, Smyth and Helwys, 2000), 223-27.
[4] Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010, 370. 
[5] Best, S. Payne. The Venlo Incident. Watford, Herts: Hutchinson & Co., 1950, page 200.
[6] Robertson, Edwin. The Shame and the Sacrifice: The Life and Martyrdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (New York: Macmillan, 1988), 370-372.
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