Sunday, September 8, 2013

Church in Germany: Take Four

Today we went to church again. As I previously indicated we might, we went to a German-language church this time. This way, we didn't have to ride expensive trains for hours just to get there. We did take a bus, which was very quick and economical because Hunter has a bus pass and I can ride free with him on the weekends. It wouldn't have been a super long walk, but it was a bit rainy and hilly and it's a bit harder for me to walk these days. We went to the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, which translates as Holy Trinity Church. If you follow the link and look at the picture, you will see it is very old-fashioned looking. It dates back to the 16th century, but was bombed so I'm not sure how much of it is original. It looks pretty cool on the inside; the cross and stained glass is a bit more modern looking.

Hunter and I thought we might be the only people in there under the age of 50, since church in Germany is known as being kind of an old peoples' thing. However there were definitely some people closer to our age. The church did have a children's service, which I assume isn't mandatory, and I noticed a woman with a baby so presumably Baby Scunter would be welcome.

The thing that made this church one of the better experiences for me was the presence of a printed liturgy. This way, we could follow along with what was happening. From being raised Catholic, I recognized most of the liturgy. There wasn't communion today, but they had the Agnus Dei and Sanctus printed for days when there was, for example. I was also pretty proud of myself for recognizing one of the scripture readings (basically I heard a few words I recognized so was able to tell what part it was; it was less understanding German than knowing things from the Bible). As far as the sermon, I understood senf (mustard) so that pretty much clued me in as to what he was talking about (plus they handed out mustard seeds as we walked in so that was kind of a gimme), and there were a few other words and phrases I picked up, although not as much.

I know that some people would probably think, Why even go if you can't understand it? However, my feeling is that in the same way a child learns the songs, the Lord's Prayer, the creeds before really grasping what is happening in the sermon, we can make an effort to learn those things in German and as our German improves we will grasp more and more of what the minister is saying. It isn't worthless for a child to be in the service even if he/she is too young to follow every part of it. Hunter joked/postulated that maybe once we understood the sermon we would realize it wasn't the church for us. If that's the case we can look elsewhere. I am planning on making a notebook with the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed in German to refer to, and also to write down words I keep hearing to look up later. Even if we don't end up staying at this church, I think it will be a useful tool if we keep going to German-language churches (which at this point seems to make the most sense).

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