When I was in Berlin, I visited a beautiful church, where the themes of forgiveness healing and reconciliation were reflected in the fabric of the building itself. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church was bombed on 23rd November 1943, and lay in ruins.
In the 1950’s there was much debate as to what to do, and in the end they decided to incorporate the ruins into a new church ensemble. In the new building, the walls are made out of mosaics, broken pieces of glass formed into stunningly beautiful panels. The pieces are different shapes, often jagged in form, but come together to create something gorgeous.
This feels like a relevant and profound theme for our day. It feels that post pandemic, so much is shattered, the comfort of old ways of doing things, economic stability, familiar patterns, securites we used to take for granted. And for our lives, we often feel broken, health less strong, mourning lost loved ones, full of worries and anxieties, exhausted from constant change and challenge.
I have just come back from the General Asembly of the Church of Scotland, where they are navigating change and loss. Many ministers nearing retirement, difficult decisions re buildings, lamentation and loss, confusion as to how to make these almost impossible decisions. There is much pain and bewilderment and sadness.
I remember the words from psalm 34′ the Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit’. God sees all the pain and heartbreak people are going through, personally and institutionally, all the jagged edges and tear stained pillows.
Today is Pentecost, when we welcome the holy spirit, and we ask that He cleanse us, and shape us, and we are reminded that He makes all things new. On our knees, we pray that somehow out of the fragments of our lives, our mistakes and regrets, He would fashion something new and beautiful, something edifying and inspirational. Meanwhile we wait, we sit among the ashes and dust, and we trust that the holy spirit can touch and transform even our lives and situations.
Father God, there is so much heartache and sadness, and the broken fragments of our lives are pointed and sore. As they said on the Emmaus road, we had hoped…….. Lord Jesus, You know what discouragement and pain look like, yet Your love never falters. Today, may your Holy spirit come into our lives, and do a new thing. You tenderly pick up the pieces of our lives, and craft them into something of value and meaning. You remind us of the truth and freedom that only Your spirit can bring. Today, this Pentecost weekend, speak to our souls, heal us, pour out Your love, energise us to love, whatever the cost. May Your light shine though our lives, bringing a rainbow of grace and compassion for all. Bring renewal to your people, in Jesus name, Amen.