This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. – Colossians 1:6
I may have already mentioned our “Dresden Angel” in one of the summer posts from Germany. But this morning, glancing up at the evocative sculpture in our living room, it reached into my soul a little bit and invited some more words.
Maybe it’s the way the angel is situated in front of Naomi’s powerful painting of a sunflower, but the whole story seems to be captured in the juxtaposition of wood and wings and flame and iron and beauty.
I guess I should begin with the fact that Rebekah and I gave The Dresden Angel to each other as our 40th anniversary gift. The entire trip to Germany was the anniversary celebration; then, at the end, when Rebekah and I felt we had a deep enough understanding of where we were, we decided to seal the experience with something local and emblematic.
Courageous and Inspirational Renaissance:
Dresden is renowned for its beauty, its history, its art, and its porcelain; it is famous for fire, ruin, devastation, and wanton destruction; it is well-known for its angels, once adorning so many public buildings then standing sentinel over the burned-out smoking hulk of apocalyptic obliteration and extinction.
Today Dresden is celebrated for its courageous and inspirational renaissance, resurrection and promise rising from the ashes of fire-bombing, betrayal, and being intentionally ground into the rubble under the heels of the vengeful boots of systematic Soviet oppression.
Rebekah and I love a good resurrection story. We also love one another and see our personal commitment to wholeness represented in the wings of our angel, raised toward heaven in both petition and gratitude.
You don’t get to celebrate 40-years of marriage – joyfully – without engaging experiences requiring petition, ressurection, ranaissasnce, and gratitude. Children alone will send you to your knees daily, while at the same time being the root of unimaginable thanksgiving and joy.
Finding our Dresden Angel:
We had climbed to the top of the dome of the restored/rebuilt Frauenkirche, looking out over the city all around us, when we realized just how many angels look out over the vista from so many buildings. It is as if they are trumpeting hope and promise and possibility to a world always in danger of being dragged back into fear and the desolation of war.
We want to both celebrate the victory of promise and love in our lives and remember the soul of our anniversary trip.
That is when we walked into the gallery just across from one more (re)construction site, with the dome of the Frauenkirche rising behind it. Our Dresden Angel was waiting, ready to help us continue to tell the story and – more importantly – to live the story as authentically and as eloquently as we know how.
In love, because of love, and because we are still learning how to love – DEREK