“God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us. [The Bible] … makes quite clear that Christ helps us, not by virtue of his omnipotence, but by virtue of his weakness and suffering. … The Bible directs man to God’s powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was arrested in 1943 for his resistance activities during the Nazi regime, including the rescue of Jews.
The theologian was part of the group that organized the Confessing Church in response to the church that was established in Nazi Germany in support of Hitler.
The Barman Declaration made clear their allegiance was to God and denounced the national church as a center for idolatry:
8.23 We reject the false doctrine, as though the State, over and beyond its special commision, should and could become the single and totalitarian order of human life, thus fulfilling the Church’s vocation as well.
8.24 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, over and beyond its special commission, should and could appropriate the characteristics, the tasks, and the dignity of the State, thus itself becoming an organ of the State.
During his imprisonment, Bonhoeffer wrote a variety of poems. “By Gracious powers So Wonderfully Surrounded” was written in December 1944 and, to me, is a poem for our times – a symbol of holding on the hope that good can still come out of these #hotmesstimes. It’s even been put to music; check out this version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxfB7vfDQxQ
The full text of the Barman Declaration can be accessed here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/barmen.htm