Oppressions Enemy

Over the last 9 months or so, I have been given the opportunity to see things from a different view.  What I have most clearly seen is how deeply oppression runs  into the existence of humanity.  What I recognize, however, is that for all I do see, the amount I don’t see must be staggering.  I then wonder, “How does one address this?  Where do we begin?  How do we heal from thousands of years worth of hidden burdens and oppressive forces that we carry unknowingly in our daily existence?”

It has also been in this same time period that I have been engaged in studying Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  While there is so much that could be said about him, it is the personal effect that his work has had on me that I would like to share here today.  His work has effected me to the core of my being, and that place inside of me speaks not in essay’s or formal statements but in art and emotion.

So, without any more hesitation I present my response to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in my poem –       Oppressions Enemy

creeps around us
like the shadows at our feet.
It lingers…                                      It clings.
Not displaying its presence until exposed…
by the light of truth.
And upon exposure…                                   does it ever really leave?
Or do we just begin to see…                   the shape…                  of its effect?
How it follows us and interweaves into our lives?                   But there is still
so much hidden in the darkness of the shadow. Can the depths of oppression
every really be understood? I think not. I think it is intimately connected,
a consequence of eating…                         of taking a bite.
What a trick the serpent played…                      To be like God. Humph!
When we can’t see the pain we cause…         even in the name of God.
It can only be exposed…                                                  inch by inch,
piece by piece,                                           event by event,
It can only be brought into the open… by the light.

In Christ we have…                             the fortitude…                               the wisdom,
To raise awareness…                 against our faults…                        of our failings.
To confess…                              our deeds of sin…              against our brothers.
And hear the words of scripture…                      as tools for understanding,
The Word
itself a force to combat the shadows.
The Word… drawing us in,
through water, wine and bread
into the perichoretic relationship of
The Holy Trinity.
Our own shadows becoming moments of learning,
moments of conviction turning our understanding into…
“Doing something right” vs “Doing nothing wrong”

Becoming a disciple of Christ.
Becoming light

Exposing shadows that are now… seen with new eyes.
because we too
dwell in truth with Christ.
Bearing up suffering with and for our neighbor.
For the sake of creation… and the Glory of God.

                                                                                       Original Work by Nicole Martin 10-3-2014


  1. “What I have most clearly seen is how deeply oppression runs into the existence of humanity.”
    It’s amazing, isn’t it? Every year I age and experience more I seem to see this a little more clearly, and it terrifies and grieves me that much more each year. Your poem has given words to this very struggle. That isn’t not something we should forget. It’s not something we can ignore. It hurts, and is still hurting, which means it must be brought into the light, as you say. And it is there that God meets us in our struggles, and it is there that the shadows can disappear.

  2. You raise some very good points about oppression in our society, particularly when you note “for all I do see, the amount I don’t see must be staggering.” So much of our lives and our freedoms are often taken for granted. When we open our eyes and actually see the world around us, people longing for freedom, people struggling with poverty or illness, war-torn countries and repressed groups, it is very humbling. Oppression is all around us, and we are called into its midst, to stand with those who suffer and to trust in God for a better tomorrow.

Leave a Reply