While in Dresden we visited the Frauenkirche, a church which was destroyed during World War II in the Dresden firebombing. The story of this church became intensely personal to me and has been colouring the trip for me.
The Frauenkirche was originally thought to have survived the bombing, however, two days afterward, the dome collapsed thereby reducing the church to stones and dust. It stayed this way until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The church was then reconstructed using the blueprints from the original church as well as sandstone from the same quarry the original sandstone was from. All the rubble was gone through to see what could be reused. Some of the stones were placed back where they had been originally, other stones were used to make up entire sections. The church was consecrated in 2005.
At the beginning of the trip Gregg Finley read to us Psalm 23. He emphasized verse three which reads, “He restores my soul”. In Jeremy Wiebe’s philosophy 300 class last semester we read an article on sexual violence, I don’t remember the author or the title of the article, but there was a particular sentence which stood out to me, I will paraphrase: “When our lives are shattered and lying in pieces we are given the opportunity to pick them up and choose what we want to keep and what we want to throw away”. Is it possible that the restoration of a church such as the Frauenkirche could speak not only of the restoration of a building but also of individual human souls?
Last semester was very difficult for me, not academically, but personally. I spent most of the semester bitter and angry, broken hearted and lost; my life felt, and to some extent still feels like a pile of rubble. Just as the rubble of the Frauenkirche was gone through, some reused, some thrown away, so am I going through the pieces of my life, choosing what I want to keep and what I want to throw away. And just as the Frauenkirche was restored to its original beauty and brilliance in the Dresden skyline, so is God restoring my soul.