Today was day 2 in Berlin for your favorite neighborhood John V. Roach Honors College students. Team Charlie’s list consisted of some pretty cool places like the Berlin Wall Memorial, Otto Weidt’s museum where he hid Jews, and the German History Museum. All of these were great places, but one other place we visited will be the highlight of my writing on today’s events, and it was the Berlin Dome, a cathedral right off of the river Spree in the heart of Berlin. Immediately this place looked amazing. So amazing that we had to take a signature Team Charlie heel click picture right in front of it!
Now, don’t get distracted by our gleaming faces or superior athletic ability that we used to take this picture, but press forward as we did to get to the true beauty: the inside. This place lit up like a spaceship from all the gold we saw plated on the altar. Hand carved stories from the Bible like the stoning of Stephen or Paul on the road to Damascus filled the walls. The immense detail of this cathedral absolutely blew me away. Like yesterday, pictures do not do this place justice. I cannot even describe the overwhelming beauty and captivating views that this place brought to the table (or, in this case, the altar).
Something that I thought about when looking up at the magnificent dome and walls of this holy place was that this is what heaven would be like. But after some reflection I realized that I am wrong. If humans could create something this gorgeous, this amazing, then what can God do? You can’t put God in a box. God would, and He will, blow the beauty of this place out of the water. I can only hope to see the gleaming lights of heaven one day, made possible through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The fact that God made it possible for humans to create such beauty in a building only makes me want to know Him deeper and just see what exactly He can do, because as we know, God has no limits, so I know that what He has in store for us is magnificent.
I was also very intrigued at the historical figure of Martin Luther. As a Catholic, we don’t really learn about Martin Luther in much detail other than his ideas are what sparked the Protestant Reformation and subsequent Counter-Reformation. He had a statue inside of this cathedral today, and I got to see a short video on him there, and at the German History Museum I was able to see two Bibles that he had translated (the beauty of the illustrations and writings in those books-wow). But I really was able to think about Martin Luther and his story. Here he was in a time where there were blatant fallacies being committed by the mainstream religion, Catholicism. He stood up to these fallacies and did what he knew was right and payed the consequences of his protests, like being excommunicated from the Church and being stripped of all his rights in Germany, being forced to flee the country. He knew all that would happen and still did it. His initial movement, with the nailing of the 95 Theses, started in 1517, 501 years ago. I look on the Christian faith now and see how much of an influence his ideology had on shaping the faith today. Any Christian Church will have traces of Martin Luther’s teachings and his interpretation of the faith, which I believe to have been led by the Holy Spirit in sparking this movement to shape how Christians interact with God. I will definitely be diving more into Martin Luther and his story.
Dr. P always tells us that when we visit these places and engage in deep thought about some tough issues or when trying to interpret the past that coming up with answers to some of our thoughts and wonderings is great. But coming up with questions to those thoughts? Even better. I definitely left with more questions than answers after my visit to the Berliner Dom, and I’m happy about that, because those questions will ultimately lead me to more discovery and more character development for me, and that’s all I could ever ask for.