I recently visited, The Market Place Church, in Wiesbaden, Germany. It’s an Evangelical Church that is celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I had the opportunity to attend a small group meeting, in the basement of the Church. The fact that I found out about this meeting was clearly the providential hand of God. One of the Pastors named Michael told me while sitting in the main sanctuary, “this is a Cathedral but under the Church is where the power is.” Even though the service was in a language I didn’t understand, I was blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And, I was also deeply moved by the fact that they actually took time to practice meditation, along with the message, singing, and prayer. Unlike many American believers they don’t seem to be in a hurry. (Below is a picture from the prayer room in the basement of the Church.)
I had met Pastor Michael a week earlier and he told me about the meeting. He said it started at 12:00 not 12:01! And sure enough the door was shut at 12:00. Pastor Michael and I had a great time discussing the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who is one of my spiritual heroes. Michael talked to me about the powerful influence that the Church in Harlem had on Bonhoeffer, when he visited the United States. It was similar to the singing Nuns he had encountered before he visited Harlem. It seems that religion experienced in the heart was a priority to him. Bonhoeffer loved the old “Negro Spirituals” and the heart religion that these believers had. Michael referred to these two events as important “spiritual stations” in Bonhoeffer’s life. Pastor Michael encouraged me to practice singing hymns, in fact, we sang a few in the back of the large sanctuary! He talked about a deep spirituality and as he called it “the Jesus in your heart” as opposed to dead religion. He also spoke of social justice and Martin Luther King. He liked the fact that I was a blue collar worker, he said that “it put me in touch with the earth.” We also talked about the fact that work can be an act of worship. And, that is something that the Reformer Martin Luther had taught. Michael spoke blessings over me and encouraged me to keep pursuing my relationship with Jesus.
(Pastor Michael and I outside the Church.)