Sunday, October 29, 2006

Still more Bonhoeffer

“It is a commission of immeasurable responsibility given to all who know about the coming of Jesus Christ. The hungry person needs bread, the homeless person needs shelter, the one deprived of rights needs justice, the lonely person needs community, the undisciplined one needs order, and the slave needs freedom. It would be blasphemy against God and our neighbor to leave the hungry unfed while saying that God is closest to those in deepest need. We break bread with the hungry and share our home with them for the sake of Christ’s love, which belongs to the hungry as much as it does to us. If the hungry do not come to faith, the guilt fall on those who denied them bread. To bring bread to the hungry is preparing the way for the coming of grace.

“What happens here is something penultimate. To give the hungry bread is not yet to proclaim to them the grace of God and justification and to have received bread does not yet mean to stand in faith. But for the one who does something penultimate for the sake of the ultimate, this penultimate thing is related to the ultimate. It is a pen-ultimate, before the last. The entry of grace is the ultimate.”—Bonhoeffer, Ethics, page 165

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