Today is our last full day in the city as we fly home tomorrow. There are a lot of things stirring in me, some good and some not so good. This morning, in prayer, I think The Lord was pleased to reveal some things to me. There is a real danger of getting sucked into a culture (any culture). Even a primitive or strange culture. We all have different tastes and fascinations, so any time there is a cross cultural missions experience there is a real danger of getting caught up in the culture.
It would be easy to fall prey to that here. To get lost in the possible romanticism of this place and miss what is going on. There is a danger of falling prey to looking at or being mesmerized(literally) the history and uniqueness of this culture and embrace far more than you should.
I have talked to so many people who will tell me about the inherent skepticism and intellectualism of the German people. This is usually said with an air of pride and sophistication, not understanding that this is embracing something that is keeping you from seeing the light of the gospel of Christ in the face of Christ Jesus. This is a spirit that is choking the life out of millions and millions of people. It is why blessed in spirit are the poor. When the props have been kicked out from under you, you readily embrace good news.
I think some people speak of 'redeeming culture' and really have no idea what they are speaking about. It is almost as if they use the term so that they can engage in the same sort of debauchery but have it dressed up so that it does not cause radical wholesale change.
Here is where it hit for me. All week I was been bothered by the intense amount of graffiti in Berlin. Most see this as a cultural thing. It is really part of the identity of Berlin and even a hallmark of urban dwellers everywhere. Yet have you stopped to think that this is an outward manifestation of deviant and rebellious heart. This means that a city is taking an identity in what is being manifested of deviance and rebellion. This is not art but rather evidence of a heart that needs to be transplanted with a new one from Christ.
When we carry our sin for so long, it becomes part of our identity. We see the destruction and all but it is familiar to us and quasi-comfortable. So we come to what Jesus said, "the reason you will not come to the light is because you love you sin."
I have wondered by The Lord would call me to urban ministry when I am anything but fascinated by urban living. But if you put me into suburban lifestyle or even rural lifestyle I would gladly embrace isolation and being cut off from people. Yes The Lord knew what was good for me. This is only partially about reaching the people in Berlin. I am seeing that this is just as much for my sanctification as many.
Our aim is to see Jesus reign on earth just like He does in heaven!