|Predigt St. Marien 13.09.1964|
My dear Christian friends of East Berlin, I want to say what a great privilege and a great pleasure it is for me to come and share this period of worship and fellowship with you this evening.
I come to you not altogether as a stranger, for the name that I happen to have is a name so familiar to you, so familiar to Germany, and so familiar to the world, and I am happy that my parents decided to name me after the great Reformer.
I am happy to bring you greetings from your Christian brothers and sisters of West Berlin.
Certainly, I bring you greetings from your Christian brothers and sisters of the United States. In a real sense we are all one in Christ Jesus, for in Christ there is no East, no West, no North, no South, but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole, wide world.
As you know, there is a great social revolution taking place in the United States of America, and it is the struggle to free some twenty million Negroes from the long night of segregation and discrimination.
We have attempted to conduct our struggle for freedom in the United States on the basis of Christian principles. Therefore, we struggle with non-violence and love as the basic elements of our struggle.
May I say that it is indeed an honor to be in this city, which stands as a symbol of the divisions of men on the face of the earth. For here on either side of the wall are God’s children, and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact.
Regardless of the barriers of race, creed, ideology, or nationality, there is an inescapable destiny which binds us together.
The Gospels speak directly and in parables about the responsibility which we have for one another regardless of the differences of race and nation. And so it is not difficult for us to go a step further and assume that wherever reconciliation is taking place, wherever men are “breaking down the dividing walls of hostility” which separate them from their brothers, there Christ continues to perform his ministry of reconciliation and to fulfill his promise that “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This is a faith that let us face our daily crucifixions, in the knowledge that God’s world is changed through resurrection, and there can be no resurrection without crucifixion. This is the faith I commend to you Christians here in Berlin. A living, active, massive faith that affirms the victory of Jesus Christ over the world, whether it be an Eastern world or a Western world.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to suffer together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
With this faith, we will speed up the day when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever.