More Bonhoeffer, this time from the new translation of his Lectures on Christology (popularly published as Christ the Center) in the Berlin: 1932-1933 volume:
With the humiliated Christ, his church must also be humiliated. It cannot seek any visible authentication of its nature, as long as Christ has renounced doing so for himself. Nor may it, as a humiliated church, look upon itself with vain self-satisfaction, as though being humiliated were the visible proof that Christ is with it. There is no law here, and the humiliation of Christ is not a principle for the church to follow but rather a fact. Even the church can be high, and it can be lowly, if only both conditions occur for the sake of Christ. It is not good for the church to hasten to proclaim its lowliness. But it is not good either for the church to to hasten to proclaim its greatness and power; it is only good for the church to seek forgiveness for its sins.
Even the church, as the presence of Jesus Christ — God who became human, was humiliated, resurrected, and exalted — must receive the will of God every day anew from Christ. For the church, too, Christ becomes, every day anew, an offense to its own desires and hopes. The church must stumble every day anew over the sentence “You will all become deserters because of me,”[Matt 26:31] and it must hold on to the promise, “Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” [Matt 11:6] (p. 360)
Yet more from Bonhoeffer’s “Thy Kingdom Come! The Prayer of the Church-Community for God’s Kingdom on Earth” (in the Berlin: 1932-33 volume of the DBW series):
“Thy kingdom come” — this is not the prayer of the pious soul of the individual who wants to flee the world, nor is it the prayer of the utopian and fanatic, the stubborn world reformer. Rather it is the prayer only of the church-community of the children of the Earth, who do not set themselves apart, who have no special proposals for reforming the world to offer, who are no better than the world, but who persevere together in the midst of the world, in its depths, in the daily life and subjection of the world. They persevere because they are, in their own curious way, true to this existence, and they steadily fix their gaze on that most unique place in the world where they witness, in amazement, the overcoming of the curse, the most profound yes of God to the world. Here, in the midst of the dying, torn, and thirsting world, something becomes evident to those who can believe, believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here the absolute miracle has occurred. Here the law of death is shattered; there the kingdom of God itself comes to us, in our world; here is God’s declaration to the world, God’s blessing, which annuls the curse. This is the event that alone kindles the prayer for the kingdom. It is in this very event that the old Earth is affirmed and God is hailed as lord of the Earth; and it is again this event that overcomes, breaks through, and destroys the cursed Earth and promises the new Earth. God’s kingdom is the kingdom of resurrection on Earth. (p. 290-91)
Bonhoeffer’s 1932 essay, “Thy Kingdom Come! The Prayer of the Church-Community for God’s Kingdom on Earth” (in the Berlin: 1932-33 volume of the DBW series) is nothing if not stirring:
If we are to pray for the coming of the kingdom, we can pray for it only as those wholly on the Earth. Praying for the kingdom cannot be done by the one who tears himself away from his own misery and the misery of others, who lives unattached and solely in the pious hours of his “own salvation.” The church may have hours in which it can sustain even that, but we cannot. The hour in which the church prays for the kingdom forces the church, for better or for worse, to identify completely with the fellowship of the children of the Earth and world. It bind the church by oaths of fealty to the Earth, to misery, to hunger, to death. It renders the church completely in solidarity with that which is evil and with the guilt of their brothers. The hour in which we pray for God’s kingdom is the hour of the most profound solidarity with the world, an hour of clenched teeth and trembling fists. It is not a time for solitary whispering, “Oh, that I might be saved.” Rather, it is a time for mutual silence and screaming, that this world which has forced us into distress together might pass away and Your kingdom come to us. (p. 289)