TO THE GERMAN EDITION
GERHARD LUDWIG MÜLLER
IN LIFE TOGETHER Bonhoeffer describes what he experienced with the candidates of the Finkenwalde Seminary and those who lived in the Brothers' House from 1935 to 1937. Questions about the shape and significance of Christian community had, of course, occupied his attention long before this. Soon after he had begun teaching as a lecturer at the Berlin theological faculty, he invited his students to weekend retreats. Considering how universities were run at that time, this was an unusual occurrence.1 They would meet in the Prebelow Youth Hostel near Rhinesberg in the northern part of Berlin or in an arbor on a piece of meadowland property near Biesenthal. In the form taken by these retreats one can find an outline of the basic community life in Finkenwalde: daily morning and evening worship, quiet time, much singing, and lots of theological conversation. The discussions carried on in Prebelow during those years made it easy later on for several of those participants in Berlin to have a positive attitude toward the strict order of the Finkenwalde seminary. Out of these Berlin retreats of 1931 and 1932 a circle was formed that stayed together even after Bonhoeffer began to serve the London parish. Their theme was the Christian life; and in their discussions, Bonhoeffer was always interested in its concrete realization. “The invisibility is killing us,” he wrote to a friend in 1931.2
1. See Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 156–60.
2. Letter to Helmut Rössler, GS 1:61.