Seven decades ago today, a motley assortment of Germans attempted to kill both Adolph Hitler and the carnage he was overseeing in Europe:
Germany on Sunday honored a group of Nazi-era officers who tried to kill Adolf Hitler 70 years ago. The plot – portrayed in films such as the 2008 Hollywood movie “Valkyrie” – helped establish a principle under which German soldiers today are encouraged to defy orders if they would result in a crime or violate human dignity.
In a somber ceremony, President Joachim Gauck called the July 20, 1944, bombing of Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair headquarters in Eastern Prussia a “significant day in German history” for showing the world that there were Germans who opposed the Nazi regime.
Not everyone who opposed Nazism took such direct and violent action. As Hitler’s regime sought to bring all institutions of society to heel, many German Christians (correctly) resisted the subordination of the Church to the State. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is perhaps the best known leader of these Christians who kept their first allegiance — even at the cost of their lives. He was, however, far from the only one to lose his life rather than his conscience.
Today–and every day–would be a good time for a two-fold prayer:
1) That we may never face in this land the kind of life-and-death issues of allegiance and conflict between our earthly and heavenly citizenships.
2) That if God permits such trial, we will depend on Him to know what He expects of us as free moral beings, responsible for our actions… or inaction.
We must remember that “the god of this fallen world” has not given up his futile struggle against the Creator. We in the West–particularly America–have been fortunate to be spared many of the most horrific temporal effects of that struggle. Compared to the rest of the world, we are both spoiled and lulled to sleep regarding this issue. But we have no guarantee that will continue… especially as our society continues to wave its own fist in the face of God, determined to proceed under its own ‘wisdom’ rather than His.