A tranquilizer or a cry for help?
A few days ago I stood with an older man in a restored church somewhere in Sachsen Anhalt (state in Germany). As we looked closely at the altar I pointed to the cross and asked him:” Who was this man on the cross?” A long dialogue developed. Is the crucified only a leftover philosophical idea in our midst or is he in real? Can he see us in this deserted church, where twice a month a few people gather? Did he raise triumphantly from the grave, or is he just living as a religious construction in the heads of his followers?
Half an hour later I look at the inscription over the door of the vicarage.”God with us!” This sentence many have missused. it was engraved in the belts of the German soldiers in World War 1. As encouragement it was supposed to bring the soldiers to their maximum performance in the close combat in Verdun. But where was God as the hardship hit us to our pain threshold?
The church is locked and the cross is hanging lonely in the isolation of a small church. The text in the old wooden door won’t be read anymore this month. Back on the Autobahn. The encounter at the wooden cross will keep me thinking for a long time. Without God we are endlessly lost and without any hope.
The sentence of a female teacher from Dresden comes to mt mind. As we said our Goodbyes at the car she shortly told me about her life.” I grew up in an atheistic country and lived several years in a socialistic neighbour country. Back in DDR(East-Germany) I found myself at my mothers graveside and I knew that materialism doesnt’t have an answer. The only thing left is the emptyness, the hopelessness and the sadness. And I instinctly felt , that a power was watching over me!”
God with us. He sees me and loves me. My secret tears he counted. We are on the way with him and to him. Very real.