“This is the end — for me the beginning of life.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said these words to a fellow prisoner on April 9, 1945, before Gestapo guards took him away. Then this Lutheran pastor, theologian and leader of the Confessing Church was executed in a Nazi concentration camp at Flossenberg, Germany — paying the ultimate price for his role in the Abwehr plot against Hitler. He was only 39 years old.
Over sixty years later, we remember this kind and courageous Christian because his witness for Jesus Christ remains a brilliant light for all who seek to be faithful disciples. From the beginning, Christians have studied the lives of those who have died for their faith, whose example provides courage and hope for faithful living, especially in times of duress. Dietrich Bonhoeffer lives in that great company of Christian martyrs; by recalling his life, we gain fresh strength in our efforts to be faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ.