Take a look - the opening of the Kirchentag
On 13 May, at the beginning of the Ecumenical Kirchentag in Frankfurt, the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland prepared an online meeting thematically connected with the topic of the Ökumenischer Kirchentag "Take a look", which came from Mark 6:38. The meeting was translated simultaneously German-Polish.
The meeting was led by Anna Wrzesińska, coordinator for foreign relations. The Enrico Triebel gave greetings from the organizers. There was also a film presented, in which short reflections on the motto were shared by people from Poland and Germany.
Rev. Birgit Hamrich from Frankfurt and Rev. Michal Makula from Lodz gave sermons. Rev. Hamrich pointed out that this year's Ecumenical Kirchentag is quite different from previous ones. Due to the pandemic, the functioning of churches, parishes and people has also changed. The text about the feeding of the five thousand is considered in these circumstances and we hear the question and then the call of Jesus: "How many loaves do you have? Go and see!" We hear His encouragement to see more. "I look: what are my 'loaves' and 'fishes'?" - Fr Hamrich said. "What are my strengths and resources? Is there anything left over from these past months? And I am comforted when I read that Jesus, with an ridiculously small amount, satisfies people's longing and hunger! My strength is in the hands of Jesus. I trust that it is enough. I draw attention to solidarity across borders for people on the margins of society. How together, as Germans and Poles, we support refugees and the homeless. How churches working together support people in India, how we take part in whatever moves us as a church and as individuals. I look and see churches that are empty and closed and look again more carefully as God moves into homes, takes up space at kitchen tables and in living rooms. How confirmands participate in the service by Zoom with their parents, how people pray together - across time zones and language barriers. And I also see how the longing for off-screen encounters is growing and the strength is diminishing."
Rev. Hamrich also recalled the words of Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Protestant theologian who was executed by the Nazis a few days before the end of the war: "I believe that God wants to give us as much strength of resistance as we need in every adversity!" She concluded her reflection with hope: "Dear brothers and sisters, I am looking more carefully: on the horizon there is light in the tunnel! I want to trust with you that God can do so much good with what we have! Even though we do not have much. He trusts us to do it! It is like a miracle! Amen".
Rev. Michal Makula shared a positive reflection on Kirchentag and also noted that the situation in which the meeting is taking place this year makes it very different. Speaking about the biblical text related to the Kirchentag slogan he underlined: "Take a look... One interpretation of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, which is very close to me, concerns precisely this 'take a look'. This interpretation says that at the moment when Jesus wanted to feed 5000 people with 5 loaves and two fish, a miracle happened, i.e. people who had some provisions with them saw those who had nothing and shared. Jesus gave what he had and others also gave what they had. No one had too little, nor did anyone waste food. Just as in the story of the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt in the desert. God fed the people with manna and quails and no one had plenty or suffered lack. This happens in an encounter with Jesus. When you meet Jesus, you have to "take a look". It is not possible to be indifferent to another person, enjoying the fact that I have a supply of all goods, so I will surely survive, and I am not interested in my sister or brother. Christ gives what He has, He blesses, and my response is to do the same. Yes, we can also repeat today the miracle that happened on the Sea of Galilee.
Rev. Makula related Jesus' words to the pandemic situation and said: "Take a look... We live in a time that is not easy. Of course, we are concerned about health and life in the first place. But we know that people are beginning to lose their jobs. There is fear for homes and housing, as many who cannot earn are unable to repay the loans they have taken out. The social gap is widening. Such are the effects of the pandemic and lock down. I think that today we read this Gospel and the slogan of this year's Kirchenteg in a special way. "Take a look. Do not be indifferent. Help. Share. This is today's Gospel that we can and should proclaim to the World. Amen."
After the sermons, the participants from Poland and Germany were invited to reflect while listening to Beata Bednarz's song "Song of Beatitudes" from the CD "Wniebowzięci" ("The Assumption") produced by the publishing house Warto.
The meeting ended with an ecumenical prayer, with the participation of representatives of various Churches from Poland and Germany: Rev. Dr. Grzegorz Giemza (Polish Ecumenical Council), Dr. Ewa Jóźwiak (Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland), Rev. Christian Moritz (Evangelical Church of Berlin, Brandenburg and Upper Silesian Luzyce), Dr. Joanna Barcik (Roman Catholic Church in Poland), Director Wanda Falk (Diakonia Poland).
A summary of the event in the form of a graphic note was presented by Joanna Rzońca.