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Sunday, July 14: Day 83 – The Confessing Church

Obviously, St. Christopheric was originally a Catholic church as it was first mentioned in 1267. It was first named St. Mary of Egypt. The history of the church said that its conversion to a Protestant Church was a smooth one.

Originally, the church was on the outskirts of town beyond the moat. Today it is right in the middle of the city.

St. Christophoric Church had served the Polish minority for a long time, but now serves a different minority: those from Wroclaw and Lower Silesia, whose mother tongue is German.

Additionally, we were intrigued by this statement: serving German speaking people who remained after 1945 (they were forced to leave) and German speaking people who came to Poland after 1989 (after the fall of Communism). Certainly these German speaking people are a minority today and certainly have experienced some form of tension as Germans are not held in high regard in Poland.

Even though we don’t speak German, we were able to follow along the worship service.

The Lord’s Prayer

Scripture

Luke 6:36-40

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

Sermon by Rev. Andrzej Fober

Faith is often a gift from your family. Certainly parents and grandparents are influential in teaching spiritual development of the growing family.

As an example, Deitrich Bonhoeffer had a strong family and the atmosphere in the home paved the way for him to develop a strong theology. His father was a great teacher. But ultimately Jesus is our greatest teacher.

I am thankful to have the blessing of a Christian home. I had the benefit of witnessing the fruits of a Christian life. I wanted that same gift for my children.

Visitors:

Australia, USA, Lithuania

Most of us didn’t speak German. It is really hard to find a Protestant Church. (In Torún, we saw a display of all the Lutheran churches in the city celebrating the 500 years of Protestants. However, we noted that most of the churches are now Catholic. The Warsaw pastor explained that the Germans had to leave so the churches were empty. The Polish Catholic refugees in Lviv, Ukraine returned to Poland and needed more churches.)

Each Sunday we are moving farther away from the type of worship of which we are familiar. However, we embrace the gospel as it is beautiful in ALL languages.

Stain Glass Windows

Four Martyrs of the 20th century have recently been installed in the front of the sanctuary. It was interesting to read about the lives and martyrdom.

  • 1 woman, 3 men
  • 2 Catholics, 2 Protestants
  • 2 Germans, 2 Poles
  • 2 Born in Wroclaw

Juliusz Iad (1862-1942). The former superintendent of this church was a valued preacher and a great Polish patriot. He condemned Hitler’s Nazi regime and ideology and actively resisted. Arrested on October 3, 1939, he was put in prison and was tortured. Murdered on February 20, 1942 in the Gestapo Prison in Berlin-Moabit.

Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941). He was the son of a German and a Pole. In 1910 he joined the Franciscan order. On May 28, 1941, he was taken to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. He voluntarily sacrificed his life for one of the prisoners from the concentration camp. Murdered on August 14, 1941.

Edith Stein (1891-1942). She was Jewish. Under the influence of the wife of her friend, Adolf Reinachs, a devout Protestant, she approached Christianity. On January 1, 1922, she was baptized in the Catholic Church. In 1933 she joined the Carmelite Monastery. Born in Breslau (Wroclaw), murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau on August 9, 1942.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) a German, Protestant clergyman, an outstanding theologian and avowed opponent of the Nazi regime. He worked in the context of the Confessing Church, whose first “Synod” in Silesia took place in our St. Christophoric Church. Born in Breslau (Wroclaw), murdered in the concentration camp in Flossenbürg on April 9, 1945.

Since he was born here, the city also wanted to commemorate his life and matyrdom with a monument of a torso which resembles a cross.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a personal conversion from being a theologian primarily attracted to the intellectual side of Christianity to being a dedicated man of faith, resolved to carry out the teaching of Christ as he found it revealed in the Gospels.

In April 1933, Bonhoeffer raised the first voice for church resistance to Hitler’s persecution of Jews,
church must not simply “bandage the victims under the wheel, but jam the spoke in the wheel itself.”

He opposed the Deutsche Christen movement and its attempt to amalgamate Nazi nationalism with the Christian gospel.

In his classic book, The Cost of Discipleship, a study on the Sermon on the Mount, he not only attacked “cheap grace” as a cover for ethical laxity, but also preached “costly grace.”

“Christians in Germany will have to face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying civilization.”

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