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Over the Fence

TiergartenLast month we stayed in an apartment in Berlin that overlooked the Holocaust Memorial, itself built upon the former line of the Berlin Wall. Beyond that, we could see the Tiergarten, the largest city park in Berlin, and in the distance, the golden statue of Victory that rises from the Tiergarten’s heart. We were, I believe, looking at the view that once would have belonged to a well-placed East Berliner, and quite literally, the grass would have been greener on the other side of the Wall. I was struck by how difficult it must have been to have that view each morning, and know it was out of reach.

The best things in life are often beyond us, aren’t they? Whether it’s particular things, or particular experiences, or particular abilities, we can’t arrange our reality to bring them within our grasp. We don’t grow up to play for Australia. We don’t retire in our 30s. We don’t even get a date with our first crush.

More important than all of these, however, is the fact that we can’t reach over the gulf that separates us from the God who made us. We might catch a glimpse of his glory, we might hope to get his attention when we’re in desperate need, we might dream of someone who can look after us - but we can’t force his hand, and we can’t force our way into his presence even to plead our case.

That’s why we’ve just celebrated the coming of Jesus. He’s the one who tore down the dividing wall of hostility, the gate for the sheep, the way, the truth and the life. He has won the victory, and he’s no lifeless statue!

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