Looking Back

Thursday afternoon I took back the bicycle I had borrowed from Bernard Brown. I got a little bit lost, spent a few minutes visiting with the village blacksmith, but finally found my way back to the right path. When I got to his house, it seemed like just a few days had gone passed since I picked the bicycle up.

The time has gone by fast, but I also have experienced a lot-more than I normally would in a month. I wrote my wife yesterday and said I have met wonderful people and wonderful places-what more could you want in a travel adventure? She wrote back and mentioned food and entertainment. I’ve enjoyed that too.

I came here to learn, to get acquainted, to see what God is doing here, and to help out if I can. I think I’ve done a little of each of these. I have certainly learned a lot and enjoyed myself in the process.

Bill Clark accompanied me on a bicycle ride to Spey Bay and back (with a little detour on the way back, but we won’t mention that). Then he followed up a couple days later with a trek up Ben Hill. Malcolm and Lorraine took me to the Queen Mother Library at the University of Aberdeen, where Raemond later picked me up and dropped off at the train station. Ronald met me at Keith and brought me on back to Buckie. Later Wullie and Jeannie to me back to Aberdeen. While at the university I gave them examinations in theology and they both passed.

They also showed me the castle at Huntley, and then later took me on another trip to Elgin and showed me the ruined cathedral, the monastery, and the chapels that were disguised as a barn to avoid being burnt. We added a little unplanned adventure to that days outing, but we won’t go into that either.

Dyllis took me to Fochabers and into the Grampians and along the River Spey, where I saw some beautiful scenery. She also showed me the plant where the cashmere products are made. I saw a beautiful robe I would have liked to get for my wife-but first I would have to sell a condo in Florida. (Since I don’t own one, my sweetie won’t be getting the robe.) Dyllis also took me to hear some fine fiddle music in Elgin today.

Ruth and Stuart showed me the coastal villages between here and Banff. They also introduced me to the joys of haggis-and they let me get acquainted with Cody. Bernard introduced me to the men’s Bible study that meets on Monday night, and I met some wonderful Christian brothers.

In my Sunday morning messages at church, this is what I said: God is at work and all we need to do is become aware of what God is doing, and then make ourselves available. There is a ministry or place of service for each one of us. We don’t all have the same gifts, but we all have gifts that we can use to share God’s love with someone else. The Christian life is a life of faith, hope, and love.

I am grateful to the people of Buckie for their hospitality, prayers, and friendship. If the Lord opens the doors, I hope I can come back again, and bring Sonja with me.

Monday morning I fly to Tuebingen.

Easter Wishes from Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes an Easter letter to his parents during his first month in prison. He is allowed to send one letter every ten days. He refers to his fiancée, Maria von Wedemeyer, who was about 19 at the time. He was about 37 when he wrote the letter.

Easter Sunday, April 25, 1943

Today the tenth day is finally here again, so that I may write to you. How glad I am to let you know that I am celebrating a happy Easter here. The liberating thing about Good Friday and Easter is that one’s thoughts turn far away from one’s personal fate toward the ultimate meaning of life, suffering, and everything that happens, and one clings to a great hope.

Since yesterday it has been amazingly quiet in this prison house. The only sound heard is “Happy Easter,” as everyone calls to each other with no envy, and no one begrudges the fulfillment of their Easter wishes to those who labor here in these difficult conditions.

Good Friday was Maria’s birthday. In the past year she bore the death of her father, her brother, and two especially beloved cousins with such a firm heart. If I didn’t know that, I would worry about her. Now Easter will console her, her large family will stand by her, and her work in the Red Cross will keep her completely occupied.

Greet her warmly, tell her that I long for her very much. Tell her not to be sad but brave as she has been til now. She is so very young! That is the hard part.