PRAYER FOR THE DAY Friday 22nd June
Good morning. On this day in 1990, an event occurred in Berlin which symbolically marked the end of an era of tension and division between the Soviet Communist East and the democratic capitalist West. What the Soviets called the Friedrichstraße Crossing Point, and the called Checkpoint Charlie – was dismantled. The famous wooden cabin which stood at the entrance to the western sector is now a much visited museum piece.
The Berlin Wall was a symbol of national mistrust and division – an icon of ideological intolerance, like a scar not only painfully drawn across the city but across the attempts of Europe to be a continent again after the terrible years of the second world war. I live close to Belfast and travel to work in its city centre each morning. We have our own walls here, which physically divide one street from another. Despite the ceasefires and the noble attempts of many to broker some kind of understanding between our divided communities, these walls remain as a visible testimony of our incapacity to forget – or perhaps more worryingly, of our lack of desire to do life, differently than those who have gone before us.
Paradoxically perhaps, the walls are welcomed by many who live close to them. The residents are not embarrassed by them, but glad they help to keep the peace. How we wish the day would come when we could take our friends and visitors to a museum to show them the artefacts of those days, rather than have to drive past the real thing, stopping only to scrawl a message of hope on the rough concrete that stubbornly remains.
Lord, heal our divisions, and enable us to do life as you intended. Amen.