“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
On April 9, 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed at Flossenberg concentration camp, mere weeks before the end of World War II.
He was a brilliant young man from a famous family who seemed constantly to choose the more difficult path when an easier one was available. Rather than be confined solely to the academy, he chose to pastor a congregation; instead of remaining in the United States, Bonhoeffer returned to Hitler’s Germany.
Martin Marty reminds us that Bonhoeffer was full of paradoxes: he was a pacifist who plotted to assassinate a tyrant; an urbane intellectual who wrote from a prison cell. So it goes for those who heed the call of Christ, “Come, and die.”