Seventy years ago this month Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged in a Nazi concentration camp. One of the best-known and most-admired Christians in the modern world, he packed several lifetimes into his brief 39 years.
You will find him called a martyr, pastor, professor, theologian, friend, and more. A distinctive word for him in this month when he is being recalled is exemplar. An exemplar is a personal representation of an exemplum, the Latin word from which we get words like example.
Wherever faith came into play, Bonhoeffer as exemplar was a definer, an enlightener, and a cultivator.
A morning prayer he wrote while in prison says, in part, “O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone.”
Won’t you pray his prayer on this Palm Sunday morning?
The message is an excerpt from “Dietrich Bonhoeffer, exemplar” by Martin E. Marty in the April 2015 issue of Gather magazine. Today we remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian, who died in 1945. Today is Palm Sunday. The readings are Matthew 21:1-11 (Procession with Palms) Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14—27:66; Matthew 27:11-54 (alternate).