Published on Nov 5th, 2014 by wpd-office | 0

I did a lot of thinking that free afternoon in Berlin, Germany. Walking first to the Potsdamer Platz, I crossed the brick line in the road where the Berlin Wall used to be.  At the Platz, the shopping mall had a retrospective regarding the fall of that Berlin Wall twenty-five years ago, November 9, 1989.  The display ran the entire length of the indoor stores.  The wall itself had been formed overnight on August 13, 1961.  It was an attempt by the East German government to isolate its citizens, presumably from “foreign” influence.  Overnight, families and friends were separated, and many were not to come together again for 28+ years or ever on this earth.  The worst part of the wall besides the replacement of the early wood and barbed wire barriers with giant concrete slabs was the area just outside of the wall which was called “no man’s land ” or “the death strip.”  Guard towers looked out over this bleak area, and from that vantage point, any escapees were shot, and often left to bleed to death.  The pictures of joy when this wall came down and those families and friends were reunited brought tears to my eyes.

My thinking continued through the Tiergarten and the statue of Goethe and on to the Holocaust Memorial near the Brandenburg Gate.  The Memorial was bathed in sunlight and washed with a gentle breeze.  The creator of the Memorial had set dark granite slabs, with about the length and width of a coffin, but with heights varying from low to higher than a person could reach, in neat rows with narrow brick walkways between.  When moving through the higher slabs, there was a darkness and a chill, for the sunlight did not reach down.  There were no names, no words, no marks.  Each visitor could make of this gigantic field of dark granite what he or she wished.  All around the memorial, cars and trucks and busses passed, and school children visited and delighted in leaping from slab to slab.

I sat for nearly an hour,  letting all that I had seen and thought on that free afternoon wash over me. And a question came to mind.  If all those who had died–all those who perished in the Holocaust, all those who perpetrated the Holocaust and all who were silent because it did not have anything to do with them, all those who planned the wall, all those who perished trying to escape from the wall (estimated from 100-500), all those who were denied the warmth of friends and family because of the great concrete barriers and have now passed into the next life–could speak to us now, what might they say to us?

The words that floated on the breeze were these:  “We lived our lives and now we are gone.  Do not so much mourn for us.  We ask you to learn, to learn, to learn.”  I have no way of knowing whether those words were a true echo of the people.  That afternoon they seemed urgent, they felt real.  And I wondered and thought, “What are we are to learn?”

Some weeks later, in prayer and journaling, these words seemed to be at least a partial answer to the learning.  Here is what I wrote:

“May the world learn how much more important it is to make music and hear music than to create and add to the shouts of violence and criticism and judgment and torture and brutality and rigid rules and killing.  May the world hear and make the music of the spheres and the stars from which we are fashioned and the music of heaven, the music of laughter and tears shared, the music that struggles for expression in every soul, the music of work done for others without thought of self and reward, the music of songs and drums and all God’s instruments, the music of prayer issuing from the heart, the music of well-tended gardens and riots of wildflowers, the music of the early mornings’ sunrises, the music of evening sunset as it sheds its golden benediction, the music of small and large animals rustling and scurrying and creeping and running free, the music of waving grain, the music of colors woven together in seasons and in each living thing, the music of courage banishing fear, the music of loving acts of kindness and compassion, the music of grace and redemption and resurrection, the music of minds that search earnestly for knowledge and hearts that seek the face of God.”

Sing a new song, hear an ancient music, and let the heavens declare, in song, the glory of God!  May it be so!  AMEN

Sonja Griffith

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