Christians and Pagans

In researching for my posts on Bonhoeffer I came across two other translations of Bonhoeffer's poem "Christians and Pagans." The version I shared in the last post comes from the Letters and Papers from Prison. Here are two alternative translations:

Christians and Pagans

All go to God in their distress,
Seek help and pray for bread and happiness,
Deliverance from pain, guilt and death.
All do, Christians and others.

All go to God in his distress,
Find him poor, reviled without shelter or bread,
Watch him tortured by sin, weakness, and death.
Christians stand by God in His agony.

God goes to all in their distress,
Satisfies body and soul with His bread,
Dies, crucified for all, Christians and others,
And both alike forgiving.

--from Voices in the Night: The Prison Poems of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christians and Pagans

All people go to God in need,
For help and calm and food they plead.
That sickness, guilt and death my cease,
All, Christians and Pagans, pray for peace.

But some turn to God in God's need and dread,
A God poor, despised, without roof or bread.
By sin's harm weakened and by death distressed,
Christians stand steadfast by their God oppressed.

God goes to all in their need and dread,
Their souls' loving grace and their bodies' bread.
By the crucified Lord who for them was slain,
Both Christian and pagan God's pardon gain.

--from A Testament to Freedom

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One thought on “Christians and Pagans”

  1. All go to God when they are in grief
    They pray for food, and help, and peace
    That sickness and sin and death may cease
    Christians and pagans alike

    Some go to God when He is in grief
    Find Him poor and homeless, hungry and weak
    Overwhelmed by the wicked, the dead, the meek
    Only Christians seek Him then

    But God goes to all when they are in grief
    Offers his body to feed to the weak
    Pierced and hung by his hands and feet
    For Christians and pagans alike

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