Yesterday we arrived in the place where Luther turned the church on it head. Today we stood in Buchenwald, a place of unbelievable destruction and hate (though in terms of concentration camps it was minor – more amazing!) Speaking with the students this week – and exaimining myself – so often we choose the easy road of complacency. We choose to do nothing, to go with the flow, to be concerned only with ourselves… Though we dream about our futures, we piddle around with the present…
Random, I looked up piddle in the Microsoft Word dictionary to make sure I spelled it correctly and here is the definition: 1) same as urinate 2) do this haphazardly – to operate in a disorganized way, doing one thing and then another without a distinct purpose or method. Ok the first defintion is a great illustration! The second is exactly my thought, we are without PURPOSE!
… In the concentration camp they would burn the bodies of the dead prisoners. But the original furnance was not large enough, so they had a new one made to hold the bodies. A company produced the item for the Germans and, as you can see to the left, they proudly placed their stamp on the door…
We are leaving a mark on this world. I do not imagine the furnace company knew what they were doing, they were just filling random orders. Continuing with life, not asking questions. Piddling. So they left their mark on the bodies of millions of murdered prisoners (Jews, Soviets, Gypsies, Jehovah Witness, homosexuals – I did not realize how many were singed out beyond Jews until this trip!)
Then there is Martin Luther. Who refused to walk mindlessly. Who stood against the current of his time. His mark brought life to a dying institution. His mark returned the grace of God to the church!
You are leaving a mark… what is you mark?
In the town of Martin Luther we saw the place where he nailed the 95 Thesis (the actual door has been replaced), the church where he preached, and his home. It was an amazing time to think of the event set in motion in the place where we walked… I also took a picture of the urinal, forgive me if this is gross. BUT, here in Europe the toilets have “targets’. Often these have been a housefly, but in the place of Martin Luther it was a candle. I thought this was fitting (more so, when I considered first definition of “piddle”!)
On Thursday our students opened the evening worship and were fantastic. Then tonight the students sang on the streets of Leipzig. Stan led a few songs, then Gardner and Michael led the group with guitars. It was really an amazing time…
Ghadi School Kids
One of the many times Jan cried came with the our students and the Ghadi students presented each other with gifts. It was a great fellowship between the two groups…
One of the haughtening images was of a doctors office with a wall for measuring the inmates. The measure was painted onto the wall and there was a slit hole cut in the middle. Soviet prisoners of war would be taken into the room for a checkup and they would stand against the wall to be measured. Behind the wall in a small room the SS gaurd would take a gun and shot the prisoner in the back of the neck. The camp executed 1000s in this manner… A memorial to those who died was a simple piece of concrete in the middle of the grounds. There were many flowers laid upon the inscription. But it was not the words that were moving. Inside the rock was a heater which kept the surface at 98.6 degrees…
On the bus Patrick fell asleep and Jan placed a breathe strip into his mouth. The breathe strip sat for awhile before Patrick woke up and threw his pillow at me! In the city of Leipzig is the home of Bach’s church.