There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6
The year was 1990. I was with a tour group in what had been called East Berlin, Gemany, during the Cold War, a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and its allies after World War II. East Berlin had just been opened for tourism, and the city was a strange sight indeed. Our group agreed that East Berlin was not ready for visitors! The “hotel” where we stayed had been a barracks for occupying Russian soldiers and their families. The beds were iron cots with army green blankets, rough muslin sheets, and a peppermint on each pillow (a nod to more advanced tourist destinations). A huge armoire served as a closet, but behind it was plumbing that must have connected to a small kitchen. From the window, we could watch the last remnants of Russian troops goose stepping through the Brandenburg Gate. Checkpoint Charlie, once the only passage from East to West and back again, was now just a curiosity rather than the heavily guarded gate that few qualified to pass through.
But nothing could have prepared our group for the sight of the Berlin Wall, a heavily patrolled barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 until the year before we stood before it. The “Wall of Shame,” as the Westerners called it, was constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It divided West Berlin from all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin, included guard towers and a wide area known as the “death strip.” The Soviet Union and the GDR built the Wall to “protect (their) population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the ‘will of the people’ in building a socialist state in East Germany” (Source: Wikipedia.org).
Today, repressive governments still cause many to flee their homes and seek asylum in other countries in which they are not always welcome. As Christians, we have an obligation to seek fair, equitable policies that build bridges, not walls. The lesson of the Berlin Wall must not be forgotten.
Lord, You are gentle and humble, and You will give us rest from life’s burdens. Amen
Photos courtesy of Wickipedia.org.
Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors. Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .