Who am I?

Over the past 6 months I have questioned my identity many times. The first module in En Route is entitled, “Who am I?” It is so important to know who we are in Christ and not rely on our own job or role in life.

 

I want to share with you with a poem written by someone, whom a Latin American theologian called, the most authentic Christian of our time—Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer wrote this when he was in prison during the Second World War. He was hanged just a few days before the Allies liberated Flossenburg Prison where he was being held.

Who Am I?

Who am I? They often tell me

I would step from my cell’s confinement

Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,

Like a squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me

I would talk to my warders

Freely and friendly and clearly,

As though it was mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me

I would bear the days of misfortune

Equably, smilingly, proudly,

Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?

Or am I only what I 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,

Trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation,

Tossing in expectation of great events,

Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,

Weary and empty 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 contemptibly 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.

Obviously my situation, my reflections and my humility do not reach anywhere near the extremity, the depth nor the height of Bonhoeffer’s but I hope we can reach towards that authentic Christianity exemplified by Bonhoeffer and modeled perfectly by Jesus Christ.