One interesting thing with living in a new country is to experience new traditions and National Holidays. Traditions, it is said, need to be renewed in order to stay alive. If I am a little negative it seems like traditions nowadays are mostly promoted for commercial purposes and not so much for good religious or historical reasons. As a change from “buy-this-eat-that” holidays, I look forward to celebrating my first day of German Unity, the 3rd of October.
It will be the 26th time for this public holiday. It was first held in 1990. That is a long time ago so it will be interesting to learn how it is renewed and kept alive. I read a comment that it is not mainly a celebration of the political unification as such but of the ongoing need for staying united.
Unity is a theme that is constantly important in Europe. Many ideologies seem to work in the opposite direction. It is not just an issue of unity between former East and West Europe but also a unity of mutual respect for religious freedom, a unity in fighting poverty, a unity of treating all people with dignity – whether or not the “other” person is a native German or an immigrant from Afghanistan.
Unity doesn’t come easy. It will not just happen because there is an organisational union. It needs to be understood and worked on in both theory and practice.
If we follow the example of Jesus we shall pray for unity. And the role-model for that is to look at how he related to God his Father. He also uses a descriptive illustration saying that unity should be like branches connected to the tree. (John 17: 20-23; 15)
The picture of the tree can also be an image for Germany and other nations. We can, as branches, grow in different directions and branches can even be grafted, but what keeps us united is drawing life-giving strength from the same trunk, having the same roots from the time of creation. May that tree not be money or opinions but the tree of Life itself.
May we all have a good day of unity. God bless Germany!
Blessed are the peacemakers (those who keep unity) for they will be called children of God. (Matt. 5:9)