Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Treasured Up and Pondered

I was reflecting on something the other day, that I thought I would back up and share with you - both because it's sweet, and because I want it written down for my own memory. While in Berlin in July, we passed the Berliner Dom (the state-sponsored official cathedral) several times between walking tours, boat tours, and just getting around town. It's a rather prominent building. 

View from a boat tour.

One of the missionary couples we spent some time with there strongly suggested we attend a service there, since there is an alcove with an English translation available in the back of the sanctuary. Not that that would have stopped me - Gav and I attended an all-German service the weekend before - but it was a must for my other travelling companions. So on my final Sunday in Berlin, Gavrel, Nai Nai, our friend Mike and I headed in for the morning service. 

We weren't allowed to take pictures during the service and you had to pay to get back in for a tour later, so I don't have a picture myself of the inside. You can check it one out here, though: Berliner Dom Inside Berlin Cathedral on Flickriver. It's quite beautiful and very impressive. 

It actually didn't end up mattering much that we sat in the English section - Gavrel kept pulling my headset off anyway. So I heard everything in German. For the record, the sermon was about Philip and the Ethiopian and how it is important to step out when God calls you. How's that for some German recall? Part way through the sermon, however, Gav had had enough. I finally stepped out with him and wandered the lobby for the last of the service. 

Gav and I outside the Dom after service. He was too busy watching the pigeons to look at the camera.
As Mike and Nai Nai came back out to the lobby, Mike let me know that there was communion available and he was going up. Nai Nai stayed with the stroller, but I carried Gavrel up with me and got in line. It was pretty cool to stand there for a while listening to the choral music and looking around at the artwork. It's amazing the gifts God has given people to create beautiful things.

As I got to the front, I took communion from the pastor (for all you sheltered American protestants out there - real wine, from a communal cup). Pretty cool to hear the same pronouncements of "the body of Christ, broken for you," and "the blood of Christ, shed for you" spoken in another language, but still very clear. As I thanked her and turned away, she gently stopped me.

Gavrel had turned to face her. She took his face in her hand, crossed his forehead with her thumb and spoke something quietly that I didn't catch. When she was done, she smiled at me. As I walked back toward Mike he asked, "Did she bless him?" "Yeah," I replied, "very cool."

To this day I don't know what she said, but I know it was sweet. I remember the words someone prayed over Gavrel before he was born - that he would be a master of languages and a winner of people. I can't help but stand in awe of the little ways I see it happening even now. It's one of those "treasured up and pondered" moments for a mommy, like Luke tells us Mary did as she watched Jesus grow. And hey, what a cool story to tell him as he grows, right? "At 15 months old, you were blessed by a pastor at the altar of the cathedral  of the official German Lutheran church."

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