A tribute to Dietrich Bonhoeffer at April 9th, 64 years after his death. In one of his letters from prison, dated March 27th 1944, he writes about the meaning of Easter. In these words you will find a clue to the secret of his life, but also of his death. He died with the confession that life would now begin. He lived out what he wrote in these words: being ‘victorious over death’, because of Christ’s resurrection.
Speaking of Easter, do we not attach more importance nowadays to the act of dying than to death itself? We are much more concerned with getting over the act of dying than with being victorious over death. Socrates mastered the art of dying; Christ overcame death as the eschatos echtheos (the last enemy; 1 Corinthians 15.27). There is a real difference between the two things. The one is within human capacity, the other implies resurrection.
We need not an art of dying, but the resurrection of Christ to invigorate and cleanse the world today. Here is the answer to dos moi pou stoo kai kinesoo ten gen, give me where I stand and I will move the earth. What a tremendous difference it would make if a fewpeople really believed and acted upon that. To live in the light of the resurrection that is the meaning of Easter. Do you not also find that so few people seem to know what light it is they live by? This perturbatio animorum is exceedingly common. It is an unconscious waiting for the word of deliverance, though the time is hardly ripe yet for it to be heard. But the time will come, and perhaps this Easter is one of the last chances we shall have to prepare ourselves for our future task. I hope you will be able to enjoy it despite all the hardships you are having to bear. Goodbye, I must close now.