God Is on the Cross

Title: God is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter

Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Category: Devotional, Holidays – Easter & Lent

Published: September 8, 2012 by Westminster John Knox Press

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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These forty stirring devotions will guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Lent and Easter, encountering themes of prayerful reflection, self-denial, temptation, suffering, and the meaning of the cross. Passages from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters and sermons provide special encouragement as readers prepare themselves spiritually for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Supplemented by an informative introduction to Bonhoeffer’s life and a Scripture passage for each day of the season, these daily devotions are moving reminders of the true gift of Christ on the cross.

The author of this devotional is listed as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but in reality it’s a collection of passages from his writings, and even some from others who share his outlook, with each piece accompanied by a scripture.

Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was staunchly anti-Nazi and strongly opposed Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender. Many of the writings included here are from his time in the camp.

This is not the first time I’ve read Bonhoeffer’s writings; a couple of years ago I read God Is in the Manger, a similar collection, during Advent. I find him insightful and inspiring. This is one of the passages I noted that particularly struck me, especially because we were discussing patience and kindness in a Bible study at church.

Therefore, do not repay evil with evil. . . . how can we overcome evil? By forgiving it endlessly. How does that happen? By our seeing enemies as they really are: as people for whom Christ died, as people Christ loves.

However, overall I was disappointed in God Is on the Cross. The passages are just too short. I need more to reflect on. And taking a paragraph out of its context sometimes left me a little confused. I wish the daily entries were longer, had more meat to them, especially during the Lenten season. I know that many people are quite busy and probably appreciate the briefness of these devotions, but for me personally, it’s not quite what I’m looking for. I’ll continue with it through Easter, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll come back to next year.


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