08 December 2015

Waiting in Advent 2015 with
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (10)

‘It is God alone who makes a new beginning’ … a recent sunrise in Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are in the second week of Advent. Throughout Advent, as we wait and prepare for Christmas, I am inviting you to join me in my own Advent Calendar each morning for a few, brief moments as I reflect on the meaning of Advent through the words of the great German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945).

In a short meditation in 1934 based on Luke 9: 57-62 and published in a newsletter for the German-speaking congregations in Britain, Bonhoeffer wrote:

“It is God alone who makes a new beginning with a person, when God is pleased to do so, and not the human being who undertakes to do it with God. So a new beginning is not something one can do for oneself. One can only pray for it to happen. As long as people rely only on themselves and try to live that way that is old way, the same way as in the past. Only with God is there a new way, a new beginning.”

Readings (Church of Ireland lectionary): Psalm 44; Amos 7: 1-17; Revelation 1: 9-16.

The Collect of the Second Sunday of Advent:

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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