Travelling is good for my soul. It reminds me of the wider world, and puts things in perspective. It expands my horizons, and revives me as I learn and meet people, and have adventures. I feel so blessed.
Visiting Berlin has been an important thing to do for a number of reasons. I used to study post second world war international relations, and so actually being in Berlin, and visiting Check Point Charlie, and being able to picture the various sectors and seeing where the wall was built in 1961 has deepened my understanding of what took place. Reading the accounts of different individuals has brought everything to life.
The second reason that this visit has been so important is that I had booked to visit Berlin five years ago, when my husband took unwell, so I had to cancel. Being able to visit just now, feels like some kind of sense of completion.
There has been so much more to Berlin than I had imagined. It feels like a city looking for redemption, trying to come to terms with its past. Everywhere you go, there is also building work, and there is a momentum towards building a better future. The architecture of the city is so diverse, old Prussian stone buildings, monolithic flats in the former East German sector, and incredible new modern glass domes and futuristic shapes and forms.
I have been doing a massive amount of walking in the last few days. At times it has poured with rain, buses have been late, I have got lost, and my few words of German have turned out to be massively inadequate.
Yet in the midst of this, there have been moments of exquisite beauty, when God has placed me in the right place at the right time, and blessed me beyond measure. I just happened to be at the TV tower, without a ticket, just at the right time when the queue wasn’t too long, and when the sun was setting over Berlin. It was a gorgeous sight, which moved my soul, and I prayed for continued healing and reconciliation for the city, and for inspiration and strength for the churches here. Just a small prayer, yet it felt divinely inspired. I hope every prayer makes a difference, not just for Berlin, but for all of us.
Gracious God, thankyou for the reminder that You love everyone in every nation, and that You show such infinite love and compassion. Lord Jesus, you see all that has taken place, all the cruelty and division in our world, and You weep, just as You wept over Jerusalem. Forgive us our sins we pray, for we are all guilty. By your holy spirit, grant us moments of inspiration and deep gratitude , so that we can pray for unity, for stories to be heard, and for the dignity of all to be respected. May tears even at the top of a television tower, bring healing grace for all who carry unspoken pain from the past. Help us to see our cities through your eyes, and to ask even yet for a river of healing and peace to flow, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.