Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.
Today was a day of more raking and separating Kindertallers, but Johannes broke up the work to show us another one of his churches. Some explanation is needed. So there is only a small number of Christians in Germany, yet there are many churches. There are several surrounding villages outside of the main Schönebeck town, such as Felgeleben, Grünewalde, Elbenau, and Frohse. All of the villages have churches there, but not enough people to fill them on Sunday morning, so Johannes, another pastor, and a team of individuals make up the staff to serve all of the communities together. There is service at St. Jakobi just about every Sunday, but the other churches either have service once or twice a month.
Johannes took us today to see the church in Frohse. This church was at one point destroyed due to lack of maintenance during the GDR, but has since had a small part of it restored. The main portion of the church belongs to a building company with a newly renovated small chapel, meeting room, and kitchen. A local artist redid the stained glass, but they were able to save the 1000 year old stone altar from the original church, along with the martyred relics that were stored inside. Johannes told us the whole story. Back in the early days of the church, they carved a whole out of the altar where they kept the remains of Christian martyrs. When they were going through the renovations and came across these, they had to have a team of people come out and safely remove them. Additionally, someone who had been to Jerusalem brought back some of the oil used to maintain and clean the stone that Jesus was laid upon; the tiny vile is all that remains in the relic hole now. The history in this area is breathtaking.
Back to the scripture for the day…I think a difficult thing for us is to convey this passage and its meaning to the children. Our children have grown up with us telling them (and hopefully) showing them through our actions and our service, how important it is to serve others on God’s behalf; to show His love for them through service, not with any expectations, but just to show love. Despite our best efforts, our children go through phases of embracing this lifestyle of service and pushing back against it. I realized this today, when we had to battle with them about separating the Kindertallers, why this was important. I am pretty convinced that this will be an ongoing conversation with them, and I am going to do my best to remember this scripture passage to share with them along the way.
On a side note, this was also the day of our first “wesp” sting…more are sure to come based on the number of them buzzing around the church and town. Lucia was the first victim—but thankfully she had no allergic reaction.