Twenty five years ago the Berlin Wall fell.
Twenty three years ago I spent the summer in Germany studying engineering. During my time there I visited Berlin, and stayed in an East Berlin hotel. It was a surreal experience to sleep and eat in a place that had been cut off from the western world for 30 years.
As a teenager of the ’80’s, I grew up hearing President Reagan say, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Thanks to cable news the world watched in real time as the wall crumbled on the night of Nov. 9, 1989.
History has documented that Harold Jager, an East German border guard, was the “man who opened the Berlin Wall” that historical night.
Jager recalls his order to open the gate was not a decision for which he had approval, nor was it an order he wanted to give. A divided Berlin was all Jager had ever known; his father had helped build and police the wall. Jager had followed in his father’s footsteps. He recalls crying and feeling betrayed that night as he watched the masses of East Berliners cross the border into the west.
However, within a half hour Jager said, “The crowds won us over with their euphoria, we realized that they were overjoyed and and our tears of frustration turned to those of joy.” Jager’s response is not very different from anyone who has experienced a border crossing.
Border crossings are difficult whether they are geographical, generational, or ideological. (tweet this)
This is one reason why it’s often hard for people to come into the Kingdom of God – it’s a border crossing. Even though Jesus said the kingdom is life, joy and rest, it’s hard for people to take the step from entrapment to freedom.
Thankfully, Scripture is full of God-led border crossings and participants who were resistant: the Exodus out of Egypt, entrance into the Promised Land, rebuilding of the Temple, Jesus bringing in the kingdom, taking the Gospel beyond Jerusalem, incorporating Gentiles into the church.
What border crossings are you helping people make? Are they cultural, organizational, or ideological borders? How is your church helping the community cross borders, not just into the kingdom but within the community?
Mr. Jager said when he told his sister, “It was me who opened the border last night.” She said, “You did well.”
I want to hear those same words one day from my border-crossing God.