Berlin, Germany, built along the Spree River, is the largest city in continental Europe, and second only to London in the European Union. During World War II, it was the third most populous city in the entire world, and still today, its metro area hosts nearly 4.5 million people from 180 nations around the world. Before Alan and I visited last spring, I envisioned Berlin as a city still in recovery from the massive destruction of World War II, but I was truly delighted with what I saw. It looks to me like Berlin has overcome —but not forgotten, and I hope will never forget—her past. I believe Berlin is passionately pursuing the present and working toward a hopeful future. The city is full of beautifully restored historic landmarks, like the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral (Dom), but the downtown area is filled with dazzling, new architecture, and everywhere you look, Berlin is still very much under construction. If you ever want to visit Berlin, know that it houses Europe’s largest grade- separated train station, the Hauptbahnhof, which has free internet, luggage lockers, some 80 shops, and provides excellent service to around 300,000 passengers every day! Also, if you’re downtown and looking for a good lunch spot, I can definitely recommend Reinhard’s in the Kempinski Hotel! Although many things have changed about Germany since World War II, some things haven’t changed…like their scrumptious traditional dishes and their world-famous apple strudel. (Altho, Jon’s Gerlinde makes the best!)Well, there’s no end to the fun things I could share about Berlin, but I want to leave you with a thought shared with us by our charming tour guide. The tallest building in Berlin is the TV tower, the Fernsehturm, which dominates the skyline. (Photo bombs in fact…look back at the museum & cathedral pix.) Our tour guide called this “the Christian’s Revenge,” because no matter where you are, the sunshine reflects so that you see a cross shining over Berlin, rather like the crosses you can see in this hospital window, reminding us that through Christ there is forgiveness, healing, and hope for all nations and people.
“And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).