Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was executed by hanging at dawn on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before soldiers from the United States 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions liberated the concentration camp, three weeks before the Soviet capture of Berlin and a month before the capitulation of Nazi Germany.
“By gracious powers” is a prayer Bonhoeffer wrote for New Year’s Eve 1944.
It was also the theme for this New Year’s sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas: