By: Gabriela Yareliz
I have so been enjoying the book Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. I was deeply interested in Bonhoeffer’s thoughts about the churches he encountered while in the United States and more specifically, New York.
He found much of the messaging and preaching shallow. He found a lack of focus on Christ, but interestingly, his experience while visiting a church in Harlem was different to that which he found at the Union Seminary.
The African American community deeply impacted Bonhoeffer’s view of what the church’s mission was– to stand with the suffering.
He wrote that “The only real piety and power that he had seen in the American church seemed to be in the churches where there were a present reality and a past history of suffering.”
I don’t think much has changed today. We find a frivolity and complacency in attitude and in deed when we carry our faith from our comfortable social settings. We relate to our faith almost strictly intellectually, denying it its power. But suffering– suffering brings about an incredible gift. It draws us near to God in the deepest of ways, and mysteriously, we find the greatest power in our hour of greatest pain. In our distress, God’s promise is made true, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.” His grace is sufficient for you and me. (2 Cor. 12:9)