Heart of Berlin

Inspirations from Kerstin Hack

American Elections – make sense. To me.

Last night, while brushing my teeth I had a moment of enlightenment and I finally understood what is going on in the present elections in America.

Or let´s say a glimpse of enlightenment that suddenly gave me a perspective of how I could at least bring some sense to this bizarre spectacle.

It came with the word …


I suddenly realized that I see both candidates as dinosaurs – remains from an age long passed that somehow made it into our world.

Clinton seems old to me

I am not young any more (turning 50 next year), but I am a generation younger than her. And am more sensitive to internet security than she is – however sending sensitive email through a private server, because it is less complicated than using government servers could have happened to me as well.

And I was in my diapers when she was protesting against Vietnam and for women´s rights (at least I guess she did). Most of this had to do with being able to make your own choices as a woman – without the dominance of men or the government. As a woman I am thankful for many of the good freedoms the women who were before us helped to achieve. But still a lot of the women´s rights language seems outdated. It sounds as if we still need to fight – whereas many younger women still see the need to discuss and explain and sometimes negotiate. But not fight. Rather find ways how WE men and women can work together.

And yes, the bizarre idea to define it as freedom or right of a woman to take the life of another human being – even if it is before birth – to me seems totally wrong.

Trump seems even older 

With his High Noon – I am alone on main street – is there anyone I can shoot – style of communication and action this  man seems to have jumped out of a time machine from the early days of the Wild West (as portrayed in movies, in reality it probably was slightly different). Movies where it is clear cut: The good, the bad , the ugly. Also he seems to be playing all roles in the movie himself… thinking he is good, while he talks and behaves bad…and ugly…well…there were some comments on his hair…and his communication style… he seems centuries old.

It all seems like reality TV, but the weird thing about it is that it seems to be real reality.

Why did two parties choose dinosaur candidates?

So why on earth would two established parties select two candidates that are old or even vintage? How can people lead a nation when their views and manners seem outdated and older than the nation itself and most of the people they represent.

I guess the answer is the same as usual: When we face too much new, too many changes we withdraw to the old.

I see the same in my country. When Angela Merkel at the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees courageously said „We can do this!“ she was dreaming of a flexible, welcoming, modern, integrative Germany. It inspired many – 10% of all Germans actively help refugees in one way or another. And it frightened more.

I guess in the same way as some Germans were frightened , the Brits were frightened about the new and changing world – slightly less British then before I would say, Mortime – and voted exit. And maybe Americans got frightened by the new world their president wanted to embrace.

And – like Angela Merkel he did not have the personal or communicative or political power to keep the dream of a flexible, integrative society alive in his nation.

The frightened ones go back to old patterns of us vs. them. Fear and rejection. The same game everywhere.  Nothing new under the sun. 

That is not only a problem of the right. It also is a problem of the left. I sometimes cannot believe the slogans I hear at left-wing demonstrations. They are half a century old. The us vs. them patterns haven´t change.

The WE-world does not exist in their heads either.

So what now? 

I guess in a few weeks the Americans will vote one of the dinosaurs for president. I hope and pray that it will still be good – somehow. Not just words. I seriously do. I promised to myself that I will spend more time praying for the candidates than discussing what they do or say.  A hard promise to keep with all the noise…

And for you in America

In those four years stretch yourself. Talk to strangers. Invite them into your home. Learn new stuff. Open to a world that is new to you. And gets newer every day. Revisit your values – how do you think life can be lived in the best way – and see how you can live them in this world.

And then – in 2020 nominate and elect someone who is at home in this modern – ever changing world and can be  a good leader in a WE world. 

Guests – meeting one another in the imperfect

14034749_10157383930850249_8109515405828354133_nWe are still building, building and building.

And there are times when it never seems to end. After 4 and a half years of building the ship is still not finished. That is what happens, when you are dependent on gifts, volunteers and miracles. They do come – all three of them – but not always at the time and speed that I would prefer.

But nevertheless – many parts of the ship are already beautiful and functional.

And one of the big lessons I learned during building is that things do not need to be finished or perfect to be useful.

Many people – especially those who grew up in a place like Germany – think that everything needs to be perfect before you can even start. Perfect finances, perfect plan, perfect setting.

In the ship I experience:

God lives in the imperfect, in the unfinished, the not yet ready…and uses all of this to meet people.

Like Evi, a wonderful, inspiring, passionate woman who came to the ship last weekend for a time out and a time of meeting one another and fellowship. I love what Evi wrote in her blog about her time here on her blog and took some great pictures.

Thanks, Evi, for your warm words.

Visited an inspirational lady: Kerstin Hack

Transition from the „old normal“ to the „new normal“ – in memory of Debbie Jones

CIMG1991Today marks the day of the memorial celebrations for the life of Debra (Debbie, mum) Jones. I miss her. And I miss being with friends and family at the celebrations in Portland.

I wrote down my thoughts and prayers for Andrew and of you Elizabeth, Sam, Abigail, Hannah and TJ and Jenna on this day.

I am thinking about you all a lot – feeling very close in my heart. But cannot be there in person – mostly because after a two month break my shipbuilder has returned three days ago and he needs my instructions as to how to continue build this ship into a haven for people – what it already is, but we try to make it nicer for those who are not so much into „camping style“.

But mostly because my brother, sister in law and my dad are coming to visit in a few days. My dad is getting old and fragile. And lives far away and finds travelling hard. So coming with my brother might be one of the last times – maybe even the last time – that he can come and visit. Knowing how fragile life is – and how soon it can end – I simply felt I wanted to spend these precious days with him – although I so much would have liked to be with you at this special time. I wanted to honor him and this rare time with him – although it means missing the time with you.

I feel very sad about it. And would have loved to be with you at this time of memorial, thankfulness, grieving, but most of all transition.

Thinking about this day I kept having two words in my heart. „Old normal“ and „new normal“.

Today marks the day of the shift between the OLD NORMAL and the NEW NORMAL…


The old normal was that Debbie / mum was somehow there in THIS physical world with you and us.

At times she was there very close in person and in heart – cooking, warming, sharing, listening, working on something, touching with her words or hands.

At other times she was away – in her own world of thoughts or geographically far away – in a distant place.

But – no matter if she was close or more far away – the old normal was that she was there in this world of ours. And there was a knowledge of her presence here and a knowledge of more meeting, sharing, interaction and growth.

Today marks the letting go of the “old normal”.

The old way how life used to be – with Debbie being present somewhere in our physical world has passed. And won´t return. It is my prayer that you will find the grace to find acceptance – acceptance not meaning that you like it or think it is good. That would be crazy. It is violent, harsh, brutal to loose a wife, mother, friend, comrade.

But acceptance in the sense of not fighting against reality, but being able to say „Yes – it is what it is. This is what it is like now!“TiredJones07

And then walking into the NEW NORMAL.

The picture of the new normal I see in front of my heart is like waves at the sea shore. There are high waves to surf on – memoriest hat lift you up, moments, thoughts, treasures that you remember and that give you strength. Or that might even make you giggle and laugh.

But then there will also be the valleys – where you feel the pain and the sadness intensely – where even the beauty of the waves of memories can crush you into a valley of despair…

Most likely the waves will be less intense over the years as new memories with other people the father brings into your lives to strengthen, bless, inspire and honor and care get woven into that carpet we call life. And in all of our lives Debbie has woven her unique threats… most of all in the life of you, Andrew and of you Elizabeth, Sam, Abigail, Hannah and TJ and Jenna…but also in the lives of all of us… for some weird reason the memory of sitting with Debbie in a tent at Freakstock and smoking water pipe (first time ever in my life…) comes flooding back to me.

I pray that you find peace in the NEW NORMAL… that starts tomorrow.

Peace and joy in the hilarious, joyful and beautiful memories… and comfort in the valleys… and most of all that you know that there is future and a hope as there is a loving, caring father God who will continue to walk with you  – He is the ETERNAL NORMAL….

Ship, summer, sunshine and rain

2016-06-10 18.51.54It has been over a month since I moved onto my ship. And it has  been wonderful. Although the summer in Germany was pretty lousy for long stretches of time I enjoy every day on the ship: The water, the wild gheese, swans, sea-gulls, ducks and lots of other birds whose name I do not know in English.

It was also good to have a much needed break from building – after 4 years and 3 months of work. No sawdust and noise for a while was a big blessing. And time to read books on health, personal grow, spiritual strenght and lots of other topic. And of course – simply enjoy the ship and visitors.
And I have had coaching-guests who received help and direction.One Lady who had suffered massive abuse in her childhood left the ship with some deep stuff being healed. One man received some help in sorting things out and an other one found help in finding direction for his future. That is in addition to those people who received help during paid coaching. And I had several international teams visit my ship to help or to receive inspiration. Or both. It was great meeeting them all.
We will resume building this week. Still much to be done. The seminar room, the entrance space and my office still need Hundreds of hours of work. And yes, some safe stairs downwards would also be useful as well as a stove in my kitchen.
While the ship is great publishing is challenging. In the last months the costs exploded (mostly for completely renewing our webpage: www.down-to-earth.de ). Sales did not. So at the moment I am not able to pay my huge bills in time.  Or buy furniture or new building materials for the ship. While as a pioneer I am used to financial challenges, it a pain in the neck right now and I need godly wisdom and grace to deal with it.
 2016-06-19 20.06.21
I would like to start paying back the loans I received for building the ship. My dream would be to pay back 500 Euro each month – then it would still take several years to pay all of it back. If you want to help relief that burden (with a one time gift that make the burden smaller or a regular gift (i.e. 20 Dollar per month – that would cover one day of paying back loans) please let me know.

How she lives on – in memory of Debbie Jones

DebbiimGarten_Hochzeit_Prag06.02Grief comes in waves. Moments of sadness and pain interwoven with moments of sweetness and even joy and laughter as precious memories surface. One person once said: „Grief is sorting – the things that are gone forever and the things that remain!“

In the last days since I heard of the sudden death of Debbie she and her family were in my mind constantly. I was not super close to her, but we saw one another about every other year, spent time with one another, in spite of the infrequency I felt close to all of them.

Many friends posted on Facebook what she meant to them and what was lost and what a person she was. I felt almost unable to write. How can you „summarize“ a life like hers – that is like a huge tapestry of many, many colors.

So I spent time thinking about what remains of her – in her kids.

Sam, Elizabeth, Abigail, Hannah, Tamara:

I have seen you grow up from little children to the Teens and adults you now are. And while each one of you is unique I see some strands of how your mum lives on in you. And would like to share.


When I first met you, you were in your early teens and fairly withdrawn. I do not remember you speaking a word with me for the first SamuelBestMan2_Hochzeit-_Prag06.02three years or so of knowing you. And I almost never managed to get you on a picture!

But then – one time while visiting in Berlin – you gave me your own copy of the Lord of the Rings  as a gift. I knew it was really, really special. I did feel like a queen.

Although I was quite different in lifestyle from you and your family I felt deeply accepted. And that is probably one of the biggest gift we can give to each other. And you carry that, too.

For me Debbie also was a very hands on person. She found practical solutions for problems when she saw them and she was just doing it, leading the way. And you carry that, too!



GoCartRacetheGermanteam_Prag06.02One of your mums gifts was to make people feel special –  using little things to express that.

One time when I visited and the house in Prague was crammed full with artists, she made my own „room“ on the balcony… with a czech salt candle.

And you did join the „German team“ in the GoKart race… and of course we managed to push your dad into the tyres…

I feel that in your heart for baking and making really special food you inherited some of that gift from her – in a very tender and precious way that is just right for you.  You are wonderful and will bless many people with this gift. Your mum cared about you a lot. I remember that  once when you were in your late teenage years she once invited me for a walk to have a long time to talk – one hour of uninterrupted talking was a lot for her. She was concerned for you – longing for ways how she could best support and strengthen you. She loved you a lot.


Abigail AbigailJoes_Prag06-02

On the window sill of my ship there are three pieces of pottery. One sturdy feminine figure with long curly hair that you once made for me. And two pieces of pottery from your mum.

It was one of her first pieces – a little mug with a painting of grapes. And one really fine mug. I think it is one of twelve pieces. The other ones she gave to other members of the tribe like  Derek and Amy – building community with her art.

I believe you are more of an artist than you think right now. There is „stuff“ in you that is waiting to come out and to be expressed. And I guess what you will create – may it be material pieces of art or spaces to meet – will bring people together and connect them. To me you also are a person that provides  strength to  others and is a safe haven – like your mum.


One of the thHannanachdenklich_Hochzeit_Prag06.02ings that I loved about your mum was here unique style. And I loved how she encouraged you to develop your own way of dressing and expressing who you are. I think you do that well – expressing to the outside who you are in the inside – with all the diverse parts of your personality.

I really like that about you.

Hoffnung-von Hanna Jones - 8 J.The biggest gift you once gave to me was a painting. When I was full of pain in a hard time in my life you wanted to paint something for me. I then asked you to paint a picture of hope. You asked me „How do I paint hope?“ I encouraged you to think of something yourself.

Then you painted a flower in all four seasons: budding, blooming with the sun shining on it in full force, then withering and gone.

In the winter part of your painting there was only white – with two musical notes. And You explained to me „In winter you have to sing!“  And that is my hope for you right now.



I do not know you so well, but I remember that your mum told me that when she was pregnant with you and felt God told her that she should call you Tamara, she was surprised, as Tamar had gone through a lot of pain and she did not want you to be named after a woman who suffered so much.

But then she realized that in spite of all the pain – and to some extend even because – she was a woman who wrote history. And that was her hope for you.  And it is my hope as well – as you experience loss so early…that in spite of it or maybe even because – you will shape your destiny.CIMG2052

And you are sturdy. One of the first memories of you is of your brother and sisters putting a hat on your face – while you were only two or three months old. You looked cool – and took it with a smile.

I guess you also carry your mums heart to let people feel they are loved. One of my sweetest memories was when you were staying with Maggie in Berlin.

We were playing run and catch and had a lot of fun. When I wanted to leave i could not find my shoes. You had hidden them – because you wanted me to stay. Your 4 year old way to say „I love you!“



CIMG1991No clue how to express how much Debbie shaped your life – every since you put your eyes on this red haired amazing woman who could beat you in the 1980s version of computer games… She seemed like the haven from which you could launch out in the world and at the same time being the closed travel companion.

It will be hard, more than hard to develop and find a way on your own. But there is so much of her in you, so much that shaped both of you together that this will provide some of the strength that you need to find your own way into the future – carrying the many precious seeds that she put in your life and sowing them into the world – together with your own unique tall skinny Kiwi seeds.




CIMG2045Well of course – meeting Debbie shaped me. Stretching my horizon. Introducing me to people i never met before. And helping me to expand acceptance. One time when you were all visiting me I told your parents to have a day off without kids and took you to the children Museum. What I had not expected was that TJ was in the mood of wearing her ladybug outfit and your mum said „ok!“

Well…it was me walking around with her all day through the city of Berlin – her wearing a ladybug costume. Now I laugh about it -but at that time it was quite a big stretch for me. Not caring about what people think.

JonesgirlsBerlinjuly02Or at least not enough about others peoples opinion to forbid a child to express her heart. It taught me a lot. I guess that I would not have been able to create a space like the ship without having met and been shaped by Debbie and all of you. God using you to expand and open my heart and make it a bit more relaxed…

CIMG1986Later that day after a lot of big adventures TJ fell asleep in my arms. And slept for three solid hours in my arms as we took the underground, walked to Potsdamer Platz, had a huge ice-cream (sorry, TJ, you missed something) and sat and talked with Andrew and Debbie as they joined us.

Juli 2011 Prag und Dresden 159It touched me that Debbies last Facebook entry was about sleeping. And your family ability to sleep just anywhere. I wish you that in this rough time of saying good bye and do all of the sorting of the things that remain and the things that you have to let you – there will be moments of rest, refreshment.

If you want you are always welcome on my boat – for a time of rest, joy and fellowship and to enjoy the pieces of art your mum made – both in clay and within my life.

Going into a boat, risking your life, …

2014-08-10 05.37.47I am touched by seeing the pictures of men, women, families, children going on tiny boats on the sea. Risking their lives to be in safety from war, terror, persecution. Looking at those tiny boats trying to face the waves the wind and the storm, my heart breaks. I just feel with them. Feel helpless for and with them. Wishing there would be ways to stop all this tragedy and bring them to safety.

It is so risky.  So many died. I recently read two stories of tow different brave young women Sarah and Yusra . Both knew how to swim and jumped into the cold water and swam for hours when the engine failed to bring the people on the boat safely to the land. I am proud that both of them are now in my country, building a new future.

Then, recently for the first time I remembered that there were other men an women on boats centuries ago changed the face of Europe. In the early middle ages,  when all of Europe was deeply bound by superstition, fear of spirits, heathen practices and fear of making the Gods angry and the constant need to appease them – there were men an women in Ireland who went into boats.

They risked their lives. However their reason to go on the journey was not out of fear. They did not flee from terror or war. They left their nice homes, families and friends and took the risk of a journey across the – because of love. They had heard and believed the message that God so loved the world that he came to safe and redeem. And that he wanted his followers to share his love in word and deed.

They did not want to live without sharing this love. And so they went. All over Europe. Starting little communities that cared for the sick, taught people how to read and write. They founded villages and towns. A lot of Europes education and knowlege came from them.

It was not easy. Leaving your home never is. Even if you choose to do it.  Many did not return. They died in the sea or under the hands of the religious extremists of their days. Or simply got sick and lost their strength.

One of the travelers, Brendan the Navigator, wrote a prayer expressing his heart.

Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home?
Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea?

Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy,
without silver, without a horse,
without fame, without honor?
Shall I throw myself wholly upon You,
without sword and shield, without food and drink,
without a bed to lie on?
Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke?

Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness,
tears streaming down my cheeks?
Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach,
a record of my final prayer in my native land?

Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict?
Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean?
O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?

O Christ, will You help me on the wild waves?

These men and women risked their lives. My life,  our culture, the whole of Europe would not be the same if they had not taken the risk. I am deeply thankful for them.

I hope that now in gratitude we will not harden our hearts to those who are now traveling the sea, desperate to save their lives.

I hope that in gratitude we live according to the things they taught us: There is a God who is loving and merciful beyond measure. And he calls us to learn from Him and be like him.

There are more prayers these people of old prayed that are deeply touching.

And I pray them for all those who are out there on the waves… trusting the mercy of God.

God bless the path on which you go
God bless the earth beneath your feet
God bless your destination.
God be a smooth way before you
A guiding star above you
A keen eye behind you
This day, this night, and forever.
God be with you whatever you pass
Jesus be with you whatever you climb
Spirit be with you wherever you stay.
God be with you at each stop and each sea
At each lying down and each rising up
In the trough of the waves, on the crest of 
 the billows.
Each step of the journey you take.

And this century old blessing  is one of my favorites:

Deep peace of the running waves to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the smiling stars to you,

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the watching shepherds to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

Ascension day, fathers day – what are we celebrating

2014-08-10 05.37.57Just in case you are wondering what we are celebrating today – it actually is two things – in my family three.

  1. Ascencion day (German „Himmelfahrt“), meaning „Going up, going to heaven“

As Christians we believe that Jesus (Isa Massih) was received throug the spirit of God and was born by Mary, a virgin. (No, just for the protocoll: we do NOT believe that God had a wife). Because Jesus was born of a human mother he called himself „son of man“ and because Jesus had the same nature and character of God he called himself „son of God“. This made the religious establishment angry and they arrested tortured and killed him brutally.

From God´s perspective: Jesus was innocent and without sin – chose to be punished for all our sins – with the most brutal punishement – torture and death. But he was stronger than death and after 3 days came back to life. He walked, talked and ate with his friends, several hundred of his followers met him after his death. For 40 days after he came back to life he taught them what it means to bring Gods love into the world.

And then he said „Good bye“ and went back to God where he had come from, but asked his friends to wait a while until they would receive God´s power to do his work of love in the World…but that is another story. But this day of Jesus going back to God is called asscencion day – or in German „Himmelfahrt“.

  1. Father´s day

Because Jesus went back to God whom he called „father“ we celebrate and honor our fathers on this day. In our traditon it is not such a big deal as mothers day, no gifts etc. But it is a time to say „thank you“ for the ways in which our fathers invested in our lives – with encouragement, time, correction, energy, being an example.

And yes, as all humans all of our fathers failed in their parenting… no one is perfect… but no matter how „perfect“ or „imperfect“ their parenting was: Our fathers gave us the biggest gift of all: Our life.  Which is of course a gift from God, the only perfect father who deserves this name.

It also is a day where men celebrate with other men – often they do a tour in the countryside, walking or on bikes or carts… and sometimes wiht a bit (too much) alcohol. Doing a lof of male things…

  1. My mums birthday

It just happens to be today… it is not like this every year as the religious feasts are based on the lunar calendar, the secular feasts on the solar calendar.

Moments of Grace

2015-04-11 19.02.44Today as I was on my way home from working on the ship I came by Tempelhof Airport. I looked out on the field, the tents, the hangars where thousands of refugees live. I just felt so sad that they have to live in these conditions with no private space, strange food, insecurity and many other things that cause stress. My heart was moved with compassion and for minutes I just kept praying: „Lord, bless your children, bless your children!“ Hoping that Creator-and-Father-God would find a way to bring hope and change.

Then I looked up in the sky…and on a dark and rainy day the sun broke through the skies… and as it kept on raining I started looking for the rainbow and saw it. Bright and strong across the dark sky. It brought so much comfort to my heart as it reminded me of the promise that God gave thousands of years ago to one man – Lot.

„As long a the earth will exist the rainbow in the sky will remind you of my mercy – there will always be summer and winter, sowing and harvest.“

There is rain. There is sadness and tragedy in the world. Not only in Tempelhof, but even worse in other areas… but there is hope….

Right now one of my best friends is visiting… when she was eight years old she became a refugee, fleeing the war in Lebanon… it was hard… but now she does have a deep and rich life… and she is my friend… rain and sunshine and many colors in the sky.

Discover God as you help others

2014-01-19 13.59.40A day ago  a friend sent me a quote that made me think – and feel – a lot.

The shortest way I can summarize it:

When we express anything good to an other human being – tenderness, love, care, help, honesty… we are expressing something of God´s character. His nature is flowing through us. And as it flows through us it also touches us. And the encounter with the other human being can also be an encounter with God´s nature. 

Here is the full quote

„A hug or supportive physical touch at the right moment, changes everything. Just as a word can bloom when given and received from the heart. Find the good soil in one another and plant there. It’s wisdom to bless others well, not just how you yourself get blessed, but how God is blessing them.
Make your helping others a way of getting to know God. Encountering and reflecting His orientation towards other is the key to lasting ministry into others.

It’s important not just to have His information for the other person or situation, but His  (Gods) Tone and Orientation of Love towards them. God gives particularly. (If we ask for a bird, will He give us a snake?) So should we.

God is not just loving people, He is loving people in specific ways. Partnering with Him in ministering His Life to others, is another way of getting to know just how awesome and specific His loving really is.

Ministry, then, is just a way to get to know and love and appreciate more of God. It’s another medium through which we meet Him.

Without the specific nuances of His Love, we can become nothing more than resounding gongs, useful only to ourselves–sort of narcissistic ministry (ministry to meet our own needs, even the one to feel useful to others), instead of ministry as a way of spirituality-of knowing and therefore overflowing and revealing God to others.“

My Syrian Easter….or what is good about Good Friday

kreuzweg1Each year at Easter there seems to be an other aspect of the Easter story that becomes meaningful. The basic story is clear. As a Christian I believe that Jesus was not just an ordinary man or preacher – he was much more than that.

In the Bible (and if I am right in the Quran as well he is called „the word of God“ and it is said that by His Word God created everything. And this word – in some ways the very essence of God if one can call it this way – took the form of a human being – Jesus the Messiah.

The one side of the story is that people could not handle the beauty, but also challenge of their wrong ways that the living word of God brought to surface as they interacted with Him. And they chose to imprison, torture and kill him.

On the other side Jesus the Messiah knew that everybody on this planet was far from God because of the wrong they thought and did. And everyone deserves to be punished…and being holy and blameless and perfect – he chose to be punished in our place – so that we could receive God´ pardon. Like two people I read about who threw themselves on a friend they wanted to protect from extremists. They got beaten to death. He survived.

Someone taking my place in punishment – that is what I believe Jesus, the word of God alive, did. That is why we call this horrible day where Jesus was tortured and killed „Good Friday“..because he did it in our place….

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,  each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Prophet Isaiah about the Messiah (Isaiah 53)

And because the Word of God is powerful, indestructible and mighty – death could not hold him and he came back to life after three days. That´s what we celebrate on Easter.

This story is unbelievable …. and I do not blame anyone who says he finds this hard to believe… I sometimes think that this is almost crazy… a God who so loves us that he sacrifices himself…. crazy with love.

My past Easters – sunrise and miracles

One of the most memorable Easter I can remember was when I decided to attend a Sunrise service at the other end of the city. (Easter can mean „red sunrise“). I cycled through the night for more than an hour. No cars and people on the street. We started singing in a dark church with only one candle that gave a little light. No faces and forms were visible. Then more and more the light came in „Day is when you can distinguish the face of a brother from a stranger!“ It touched me and reminded me of the fact that God wants to bring light in the areas of my heart that are dark, fearful and alone.

And then last year Easter was a time of grieving. One of my best friends had suffered a stroke and his main brain stopped working completely (only one little part still was a little bit alive). He was dying. The doctors had zero hope. I spend the week grieving about the los of a friend and still hoping and praying for a miracle. On Easter Monday the doctor spoke with the wife of my friend about turning off the breathing and feeding machines and removing his organs – so they could serve another person.

Then he moved. The doctors checked on him. He could hear them, could react. The doctor left the room screaming in shock. This does not happen with that kind of injury. Since that day my friend Matthias has recovered dramatically. There still are problems – but he can walk, talk, act… So this Easter for me was an Easter where I saw the power of God who can restore people who are (almost) dead. An Easter of Miracles.

This Easter- feeling with my Syrian friends 

This Easter most of my thoughts go to my friends from Syria, Gaza and other parts of the World where there is suffering. I have become friends with a number of newcomers in my city and country. And they allow me to see their world – through their stories shared while drinking coffee or on Facebook. Like everyone my Syrian friends post pictures of family, friends, good food and fun activities.

But they also post the memories of the day when their university was bombed by Assad. They share the picture of their cousin who was killed on that very day. They talk about destruction. They grieve the loss of a friend who died while trying to cross the sea. They post pictures of torture wounds IS inflicted on them.

They pictures they show look like the paintings of the artists that painted the suffering of Jesus. In some ways the suffering of Jesus for me had always been far away. In my world there there was no way I could really understand it. In my world there was the normal amount of suffering: sickness and death as it happens anywhere. How can you understand suffering if the worst thing you ever experienced is your Granddad dying at age 70.

How can you really understand when  in your live there were no bombs, no loss of home, no torture.  War existed only in the stories of my Grandparents. No prison, violence, unfair trials, sadism …

Suddenly – trough the lives of my friends – the story of Jesus becomes so much closer and more real … his suffering is no longer far away… but much more real.

  • Passion Station 9-14He became a refugee – like so many of my friends
  • He got betrayed and left alone – like many of my friends
  • He got accused and had an unfair trial – like many of my friends
  • He got into prison – like some of my friends.
  • He got tortured – like some of my friends.
  • He died – like many of their friends.

There is so much I do not understand. But there is one reality that has become more and more alive this Easter. There is so much unbelievabla suffering in the World. And Jesus the Messiah suffered in the same way. And encourages his followers to receive his Spirit to bring some of Gods love into this suffering world.

Bach, one of our composers turned the cry of the people „Lord have mercy on us“ / Herr erbarme dich into a beautiful song. I pray and cry out for the ones who are suffering as I listen to it – in Arabic.

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