Sunday, August 01, 2004

"Jona", by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jona--The Sacrifice of Jonah

In face of death they screamed and strained
to hold the soaking ropes, creaking in the wind,
and wild scenes appeared, in full horror, behind
the sea's tumultuous waves and forces unrestrained.

"You gods eternal, ever good, who now offense betoken,
save us, or give a sign that we may know
who with secret sins has made you so:
murder, blasphemer, or one whose oath is broken,

one, whose hidden wrongs have brought us to this evil,
that his pride might profit as best it can!"
Thus they prayed and Jonah spoke, "I am the man!
My life is forfeit. I opposed God's will."

"Cast me out, my guilt incurs God's anger still.
The righteous should not perish with wrong!"
They trembled, but their hands were strong
to drop the guilty. And now the sea was still!
(From "Voices in the Night" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, editor & translator Edwin Robertson, pg 115)

He writes allegorically of all Germany was passing through as a country and what his own guilt had brought upon himself, his family and his country. I believe he writes with hope, acceptance and peace, knowing his life was in the Father's hands. This is his last poem from cell 92.

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