What might your discipleship cost you?

This is an exciting time at All Nations. We’re at the start of a new academic year. Each Monday morning we meet together as a college community to kick the week off. And, with great creativity and imagination, we call these meetings “Kick-Off”!

Apart from some corporate worship, prayer and notices, we have a short Biblical reflection. This term we’re looking at the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 5. This led us to think about a book which deals with this very subject.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (pictured right) wrote a book on the Sermon on the Mount called The Cost of Discipleship. It’s a challenging book, not only because of the content but also because Bonhoeffer “walked the walk” as well as “talking the talk”. After joining the fight against Hitler and the Nazis he was imprisoned and eventually executed.

We offer you this moving poem by Bonhoeffer, written from his prison cell on an issue we speak a lot about at All Nations: identity.

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighbourliness,
Tossing in expectations of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!


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