18. August 2016

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jiri's paper can be read in the side bar on the right. I would be happy if you would let me share in your discussions on the blog via comments.

16. August 2016


Letzten Donnerstag schon ging unser Bibeldialog zum Thema "Steht auf, habt keine Angst. Mut zum Leben" zu Ende. Wir waren über 40 Menschen, viele davon zum ersten Mal bei diesem Bibeldialog auf Schwanenwerder. Die TeilnehmerInnen kamen aus ganz Deutschland, Rumänien, den Niederlanden und Russland. Auch eine Warteliste gab es, die wir leider nicht mehr einladen konnten.
Ein großartiges Referat von Radiopastor Matthias Bernstorf gab den Auftakt und viele Gedankenanstöße für die weitere Tagung. Einstimmig begeistert - inspiriert trifft es wohl noch mehr - waren alle von Heinz Wöltjens Bibelarbeiten. So gründlich vorbereitet, so liebevoll aufbereitet waren sie ein Füllhorn von Kenntnissen und Anregungen. Die Nachmittagsgruppen - nach Neigung zu wählen - waren unterschiedlich groß, von 4 bis 19 Personen jeweils, aber jede Gruppe genau richtig.
Der Besuch im Elternhaus Dietrich Bonhoeffers war mehr als nur ein Ausflug, wie wir ihn immer als Teil des Programms planen. Wird unser eigener Mut so auf die Probe gestellt wie der Bonhoeffers? Hätte ich den Mut aufzustehen oder hätte ich doch Angst?
Last Thursday, we ended our Bible Dialogue "Stand up, do not be afraid. Courage for life". We were more than 40 people from Germany, Russia, the Netherlands and Romania, many for the first time at this conference on the peninsula Schwanenwerder. A fantastic lecture by radio pastor Matthias Bernstorf opend the conference and gave impetus for many following discussions. All agreed enthusiastically that the Bible studies that Heinz Wöltjens led, were most inspired and inspiring: so throroughly and lovingly prepared, it was a treasure well of knowledge and rich food for thought. A visit to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's parents' house in Berlin Charlottenburg was our excursion; would our courage ever be tested like Bonhoeffer's? Would I stand up or would I be afraid?

2. August 2016

The Church or our faith as a transnational home?

Now it has been already two days since our Bible Dialogue for theology students ended. It was a unique experience with 16 participants from 10 different countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America – and that is not counting the conference team. Non-European participants are still rather new for us and for this year’s topic “MIGRATION- The Church As A Transnational Home” is was a special gift which gave us new perspectives. I don’t know where to begin. Already the Peters Projection of the world on our map, read upside down from what we were all used to seeing was a step towards a new orientation. We realized that migrating is part of our heritage. Since the early days of humanity, people set out to find a better place to live, the Promised Land, or simply a place where their children would have a future. What changed is that more and more nations feel that they have arrived and are getting complacent in a presently comfortable situation which they are disinclined to share. But no matter how pleasant our lives may be, for instance in Germany, our true home is not here at all. Our true home will be with God. We will dwell or we are dwelling in Jesus, but what does this mean?
Quite a bit of our program got changed around because our discussions were just too intense to stop and move on to the next topic. I am grateful to the conference team, who were flexible and open in regard to the needs and wishes of our group. (In a few days, I will send Jiri’s paper, I promise)
Of course we did not just discuss in theory but also asked ourselves what we can do in our home churches to allow people from other countries and other cultures to feel that they have their home in their hearts: their faith. Julian put is quite clearly: Belonging comes before believing. We need to feel like we belong so that we can believe that our churches may be a glimpse of our true home.
I was one of the few who were actually locally at home, being from Berlin and living here, so for me this was most and foremost a lesson in how great our Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, really is. "Great" meaning both vast and wonderful and diverse and colourful.