Now our time this summer back in the States was a whirlwind, then I came home to Germany only to immediately run off to Hungary, then worked with a team here in Germany and then ran off to Ukraine. Some would say I’ve been a bit on the go. I also haven’t been alone. As in me, by myself, alone. Now this may come as a shock to some people, but I’m a borderline introvert. This means that I need my alone time or I tend to go a little crazy. My wonderful wife recognized this this past week and then proceeded to book me a two-night stay at a little hotel in the Black Forest. It was a wonderful two days of solitude where I got to go do some hiking (catch my photos in the Photo Album), play around with Photoshop and spend some time in God’s Word.
One of the amazing things about hiking in Der Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) is that you never know what you are going to come across. As I was hiking, all of the sudden I see this small chapel near the trail (see the photo above). It’s a very small chapel and as I approached I saw a sign with a man’s picture on it. It was a picture of Willibald Strohmeyer. The title above his picture was “SS-Terror and Priest’s death in Muenstertal” (my translation).
As I continued reading, I came to find out that this man was a priest in the area during World War II. He led an order of nuns (yes, they had a priest leading them) that took care of the homeless and needy. When the Nazis came to power, he was too popular by the people to touch. But near the end of the war, when the French were invading this area of Germany, Willibald Strohmeyer encouraged the locals to not resist and to put out white flags in hopes of not provoking the French to destroy this region. On Sunday, April 22, 1945, a group of SS Troopers arrested him during a church service. He was driven into the hills, robbed and brutally murdered. His body wasn’t found until May 5th. The chapel that I had found was to make sure that he was remembered not only for his death but more for how he chose to live his life.
Ironically, the sermon he gave just three hours before his death was on John 16:16-26:
16″In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
17Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
19Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
25″Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.
– John 16:16-26 (NIV – emphasis mine)
It’s amazing what you can find when you are not on a tourist’s path but deep into life’s journeys.