When I was writing my novel The Puzzle People, I came across a photo of the Church of Reconciliation as it was being blown up in 1985 (shown on the left). But what caught my eye in the photo was the cross on the church steeple flying off in mid-air. So I described the explosion this way in the novel:
“The steeple began to sink. Its feet had been knocked out from under it by the detonations, and the steeple collapsed into itself. Then the weight of the structure threw it forward, onto its face, and it tumbled like a falling giant. Stefan spotted a piece of it flying through the air–a steel cross flung through the sky like a discarded battle sword…”
Not long after writing this passage, my wife and I traveled to Berlin, and we visited the new Chapel of Reconciliation, built on the very spot where the church had been destroyed. Imagine my surprise when we discovered that the cross I had described had been recovered and put on display. You can see the cross as it appears today in the photo on the right, but you may notice something strange. The cross became bent when it landed in a nearby cemetery after the church was blown up. It now resembles a plowshare.
In The Puzzle People, I had described the cross as a discarded sword, but it now resembled a plowshare. Remind you of anything?
In Isaiah 2:4, the Bible says, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
The final irony: Before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the protesters in East Germany, many of them based in the church, adopted as their motto the phrase: “Swords into plowshares.”
The cross had triumphed.
By Doug Peterson