“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 New Living Translation
Our daughter finished high school in 2012. For her graduation gift we sent her to Germany for six weeks to visit her foreign exchange family she met the year before in Bavaria. The plan was for us to follow after the first 3 weeks and stay nearby in a local pension or what we would call a bed and breakfast.
The first thing we noticed is that Bavaria is a place that truly looks like it was ripped from the pages of a fairytale. Quaint little villages with tiny houses and shops in varied bright colors nestled here and there along cobblestone streets. Baskets hanging from lamp posts lined the streets and window boxes on the cottages all brimming over with beautiful blooms of pink, white and purples. It felt surreal.
The bed and breakfast where we stayed oozed adorability. Everything smaller in size than what we were used to but clean and tidy with fresh flowers daily. The doors and walls were heavy, old and wooden but kept in tiptop shape.
The food the inn keeper served delighted our eyes as well as our stomachs. Eggs with the deepest orange yolks I ever saw, fresh sausages, pancake crepe creations, fresh milk, various bacons and a score of pastries laid out neatly on our table every morning. (Across the street was the town bakery and the Bavarian people pick up fresh baked delicacies every morning.) Talk about Foodie Heaven, this was it! Everything naturally organic because they didn’t use preservatives in Germany.
We visited many of the famous sights as well as some out of the way places with the German family who were very gracious to show us around for three full weeks. So many wonderful memories and countless cross-cultural experiences. It far exceeded any expectations I had of what I perceived of Germany.
Only one thing dampened the joy of this Bavarian Odyssey. Everywhere we went the people seemed tragically indifferent toward God. The towering ornate cathedrals reeked of deadness. Each one we visited felt cold, just a lifeless shell of an architectural marvel. My heart ached for the German people at this point. The beauty of God’s creation surrounded them and yet they did not have eyes to see. The majesty of the Alps alone sent thrills throughout my entire being evoking praise and gratitude to my Creator God. Not so of the people I encountered. They did not give God much thought let alone credit.
While touring one cathedral our German guide pointed out the beautifully carved and painted ceiling. I noticed a dove sculpted into the eaves and asked about it. He explained the dove represented the Holy Spirit.
“You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you, don’t you?” I Corinthians 3:16 International Standard Version
Happy to hear this I asked how the Holy Spirit interacts with him. He said the Holy Spirit is carved into the high ceiling to symbolize how far away He is and that man cannot reach Him. I explained I have a very different view about the Holy Spirit based on biblical passages and my own experience with Him. The guide listened intently but could not grasp the idea of the Holy Spirit living in a human heart as I told him I believe.
I wonder if this idea about the Holy Spirit being far away is a commonly held belief by Germans? Without knowing what the scriptures teach and experiencing the presence of God through His Holy Spirit in the world and in my heart, I suppose I would be indifferent and apathetic about God too. But knowing the truth certainly does set one free to experience the glory and majesty of our Great God!
“And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.'” Galatians 4:6 New Living translation
Please pray for revival to spread throughout Germany that they may have a desire to read the Bible for themselves and see what they are missing. That they may receive the truth and discover that they too can know God personally, that He is not faraway but desires to live in their hearts through His precious Holy Spirit!
Shine on. . .