Last year I saw a chunk of the Berlin Wall at a museum, it was a profoundly ugly chunk of concrete and I cannot imagine being separated from family and friends by it. I was far too young to register the significance of the wall coming down when I was younger, but the twenty year anniversary has given me a good chance to retroactively be in awe of what it meant for Germany and the world.
Christianity Today has an interview with a German pastor that gives some insight into what the Wall meant and how it’s still affecting life today.
Here’s an excerpt:
What can Christians take away from the fall of the Berlin Wall?
It’s a shame that we still have an invisible wall. People who are extremely left wing or extremely conservative in their political stance never meet at the same table or shake hands.
What did really unite the first churches? It was not a shared cultural background, as some were Jews and others Gentiles of many different kinds. It was not a fully shared set of rules and regulations, as Jewish believers followed some very different rules than Gentile believers, and as Paul rules out the law as a foundation in Ephesians 2:15. But it is also not the “multicultural” approach that is popular today in the political and public arena where everything is being held together by an unquestionable respect for the differences of the other. In the early church there was much questioning, admonishing, and discussing, theologically as well as ethically, about the right and just way.
The church creates this amazing opportunity; in the church people can come together that would otherwise never sit together: people from the political right and left, people having very different attitudes about sex, power, and money, people who suffered from communists and people who were communists, the “environmentalist” and liberal “capitalist,” people with Jewish backgrounds and others with German, Arab, or other backgrounds. Not by simply tolerating each other and leaving each other untouched, but by welcoming each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and then the joined struggle begins. What truly unites us is the shared confession of Christ and a life-long struggle with each other and with God to find a biblical way for life and work.
What about you? Do you remember when the wall came down? Did it mean anything to you and your faith?