A Bonhoeffer Advent Reflection: “At one with the suffering and joy of his people”

In a dream he sends his angel to Joseph and tells him to flee to Egypt, beyond the limit of Herod’s power. Mysterious as God himself are his means. There never fail powers and servants to make know his will. Surely, he has given us his Word and there made clear his will . . . The child, Jesus, must fly with his elders. Could God not have protected him from Herod even in Bethlehem? Of course he could, but it is not for us to ask what God can do, but what in fact he wills. God wills that Jesus escapes to Egypt. He indicates also that he can protect Jesus and that nothing will happen to him unless God allows it. Jesus lives now in Egypt, where his people were. In his own body he should live through the sorrows of his people. In Egypt, Israel suffered hardship, in Egypt the hardship of Jesus began. In Egypt, God’s people and their king must live in sorrow in a strange land. God led his people out of Egypt into the Promised Land, and from Egypt God called his Son back to Israel. What once the prophet had said about the people of Israel, is now fulfilled in Jesus: “Out of Egypt I called my Son.” The flight into Egypt was no blind accident, but divine promise and fulfillment. In Egypt, Jesus would be completely at one with the suffering and joy of his people, God’s people, with us. In Egypt, he is with us in a foreign land and with him we also will be brought out from that strange land into the Land of Promise, God’s own country.

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  • Glenn Davis

    Would you give the citation please? I am enjoying your Advent quotes from Bonhoeffer’s Works.