The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Twenty-eight years without this terrible landmark of separation, family divisions, a country divided.
Today we celebrate 28 years of reunification. 28 years without the Berlin Wall. 28 years without this terrible landmark of separation, family divisions, a country divided.
What a historical and remarkable story not just for Germany but also for Europe. So much to thank God for, also thanking the people who for generations have prayed for the wall to come down.
Three weeks ago I visited my friend Kerstin Hack on her house boat. Nearby, the land owner had placed some old pieces of the wall which he intends to bring to Northern Ireland one day. Just standing in front of these pieces and thinking about the pain and misery these pieces have brought to a nation and also to our continent is quite unbelievable.
Over the last 100 years next to the World Wars as such, the biggest conflict has been the separation of Germany into East and West. A wall was built. Dividing a nation and family, but also establishing the communistic Eastern bloc. The implications were many. Different belief and political systems were established for more than 40 years. Generations were raised differently. And this did not only apply to Germany but to many countries on both sides. It also meant Europe was divided.
When in 1989 the wall came down, this was not just to unite East and West of Germany, but a whole political system of a structured communism fell apart. Once religion was either banned or only under strict regulations allowed, a whole resurgence of religion, including the Christian faith came about. Atheism and communism as such lost its followers. In recent years though we have seen that were disillusionment was not met, a young generation chooses once again for systems which exclude faith as such.
CHRISTIANS IN EUROPE RESPONDED TO THE CONFLICT
Christians around the world had been praying about this conflict. Initiatives were founded to engage communities of prayer. Brother Andrew from Open Doors led a worldwide prayer movement for 7 years believing, that the wall will one day collapse.
On the Eastern German side, a Lutheran youth church worker with his young people started a prayer initiative for peace in November 1982. He called for peaceful Monday night prayers in Leipzig. The start was rather sobering but they persisted. As the political societal debates rose up, over the years thousands started to attend. A leadership conflict was at hand. The church used its voice to be involved politically as well. People started to demonstrate and the numbers grew until finally on 9 November 1989 the wall came down. And with this also the end of the Cold War.
Europe and the world watched a miracle. The reunification opened up many doors for the Gospel. It helped society to make their own decisions. The church was visible to take a stand for freedom, to count the costs and to be a strong example of faith in turmoil.
Young people had started this prayer movement, adults joined and it became an intergenerational faith project. Following this came a movement of many young people being willing to move into the Eastern part, often mentored by senior leaders, to set up little church plants across Eastern Germany and Eastern Europe.
As I wrote on this part of history, I became once more grateful to God and people willing to take their stand! I was totally excited to take a piece of the Berlin Wall with me and got a little plaque last week to remember the extraordinary miracle as God used ordinary people!
Evi Rodemann, Cheerleader of the next generation, Lausanne Movement. Visit Evi's website.