Forgive the tardiness of my post - I recently returned from a trip to Germany. Today I would like to share with you reflections of one of the "stops along the way" - the Berlin Wall. Of all the places I've visited and things I have seen throughout my life, this was quite possibly the most striking of all. I realize that is a rather big statement, but I think it is true.
First of all, I think the reason it made such an impression on me is that it is such a current event. I actually remember hearing in "real-time" Ronald Reagan say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" As I walked through the memorial of the wall, I was struck by the fact that there were people living in the very neighborhood where the memorial stands who can remember when the wall, and its guards and everything that went along with it, was still there, serving its diabolical purpose.
Not only that, but there are certainly still people living in the vicinity who actually supported, and would support yet today, the wall's construction. It was an eerie realization looking at the buildings nearby.
Along with the actual memorial of the wall, there are, throughout Berlin, markers on the ground of where the wall had been. Passing over one of these markers, I imagined the men who were constructing the wall, and passersby maybe stopping to "watch" the progress. In this relatively modern era, in a Western European country, a "civilized place", how could such a thing take place?
And yet, I have to check myself as I ask that question. Do I casually "watch" as people construct walls in my own little world?
I recently learned that the Greek translation of the word devil actually expresses the idea of someone who divides things that are supposed to be united. Berlin was one city, but it was divided by a wall.
In our everyday lives there are walls of all kinds dividing us. Some are fairly obvious. The big challenge is identifying the more subtle divisions. Divisions start by focusing first on our differences rather than our commonalities; an "us against them" mindset. Don't get me wrong - differences are important. They enable us to move forward farther because we have a variety of viewpoints to enlighten us. It is when our differences lead to division that strife follows. A more life-giving posture is to focus on the value found in our differences, and also on our similarities.
What walls can you identify within your little world? How might you participate in tearing down those walls and replacing them with unity?
Blessings to you today.