Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the place of the cross for Christians

John Piper commemorates Bonhoeffer’s death on April 9, 1945 by quoting him at length, putting his most famous words in italics:

The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our  lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call. (The Cost of Discipleship, 99)

It says something about how much dying I must do that I thought about how others need to display this attitude before my own desperate need to hear these words came to mind.

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