Faith Stands by God

bonhoefferIn CH4, the Church of Scotland hymnal, is a hymn by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I read it on Good Friday, sat in the parish church. I must have come across it before, since it’s in Letters and Papers from Prison, but it was the first time I’d seen this particular translation. As I read it there, on that day and in that place, I found it not only striking, but also deeply moving.

We turn to God when we are sorely pressed;
we pray for help, and ask for peace and bread;
we seek release from illness, guilt, and death:
all people do, in faith or unbelief.

We turn to God when he is sorely pressed,
and find him poor, scorned, without roof and bread,
bowed under weight of weakness, sin, and death:
faith stands by God in his dark hour of grief.

God turns to us when we are sorely pressed,
and feeds our souls and bodies with his bread;
for one and all Christ gives himself in death:
through his forgiveness sin will find relief.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) Letters and Papers in Prison, 1953, SCM Press, translated Compilers.