09 April 2024

Daily prayer in Easter 2024:
10, 9 April 2024

Dietrich Bonhoeffer questioned the proper role of a Christian in the midst of political turmoil … he is remembered in the Church Calendar on 9 April

Patrick Comerford

This week began with the Second Sunday of Easter (Easter II), sometimes known as ‘Low Sunday’ (7 April 2024). The Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today (9 April) remembers the life and witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Lutheran Pastor and Martyr.

Throughout this Season of Easter, my morning reflections each day include the daily Gospel reading, the prayer in the USPG prayer diary, and the prayers in the Collects and Post-Communion Prayer of the day.

Before this day begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

The life and witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) is remembered in the calendar of Common Worship today

John 3: 7-15 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 7 ‘Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9 Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10 Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’

The New Synagogue in Berlin … when synagogues throughout Germany were set on fire in 1938, Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared: ‘Only those who cry out for the Jews may sing Gregorian chant’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945):

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), who is remembered in Common Worship today, was born into an academic family. Ordained in the Lutheran Church, his theology was influenced by Karl Barth and he became a lecturer: in Spain, the US and, in 1931, back in Berlin.

He opposed to the philosophy of Nazism, and was one of the leaders of the Confessing Church, a movement which broke away from the Nazi-dominated Lutherans in 1934. Banned from teaching, and harassed by Hitler’s regime, he bravely returned to Germany at the outbreak of war in 1939, despite being on a lecture tour in the US at the time.

His defiant opposition to the Nazis led to his arrest in 1943. His experiences led him to propose a more radical theology in his later works, which have been influential among post-war theologians. He was executed by the Nazi police in Flossenburg concentration camp on 9 April 1945.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (seventh from left) among the ten martyrs of the 20th century above the West Door of Westminster Abbey (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Tuesday 9 April 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is the ‘Certificate in Youth Leadership Programme in the West Indies.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Right Revd Michael B St J Maxwell, Bishop of the Diocese of Barbados.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (9 April 2024) invites us to pray:

Lord, we pray for efficiency in promoting and presenting the modules of the certificate programme to effectively equip and prepare participants for the exercise of youth ministry and leadership within their parishes and dioceses.

The Collect:

Almighty Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

Lord God our Father,
through our Saviour Jesus Christ
you have assured your children of eternal life
and in baptism have made us one with him:
deliver us from the death of sin
and raise us to new life in your love,
in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Additional Collect:

Risen Christ,
for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts,
that we may seek the good of others
and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,
to the praise of God the Father.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued Tomorrow

Patrick Comerford’s sermon in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on 5 February 2006, marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was published in ‘A Year of Sermons at Saint Patrick’s, Dublin’ (pp 19-22)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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