Cross Points 1.8.21

Discipleship Afoot:  Walking in Prague

After 5 days in Berlin with the first leg of the 2019 mission trip to work with Open Door Libraries, we took a train south to Prague, Czech Republic, where the other library we were visiting resides.  The land of Germany south of Berlin reminded us a lot of northern Missouri, relatively flat, farmland, and you regularly saw deer stands out in the fields.  That all changed as we crossed the Elbe River in Dresden, Germany.  From that point on the train ran close to the river, with hilly terrain, small quaint villages dotting the landscape.  We had seen the Elbe River earlier as it runs through Wittenberg, Germany also.  We had visited Wittenberg to see the Castle Church where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses in 1517, starting the Reformation; we walked the cobblestone streets he walked.  This same Elbe River ran beside us from Dresden to north of Prague, where the Vltava River would continue with us into the city.

We arrived in Praha after dark, got our baggage, and walked out into the crisp night air.  Down the hill we caught a street tram, crowding into an already packed vehicle with our luggage, trying to hold onto it while we held onto a cord above to steady ourselves.  Tired and bouncing up the street we soon came to our stop near the hotel Carlton, our home for the next 10 days.  There was little opportunity to explore much for the first few days, Jim and Laurie Barnes (directors of the library) kept us busy.  We helped with various things, doing as they directed us.  But they provided a meaningful introduction to the city with a prayer walk one day.  Starting down near the train station, we walked to a place under the tracks where the homeless gather.  They explained how one ministry in Prague helps with moves, and they employ those in this area who are homeless and need a job.  The library was about to move (part of our purpose while there, to help them prepare), and they would use this ministry to make the move.

Then we walked to the park by the train station we’d casually come through the first night.  We found out that this is another place the homeless stay, seeing them all around with the light of day.  We stopped and prayed.  We walked to a building that was used during the Nazi occupation, and later by the Communist, to interrogate suspects, and sometimes the place where they were tortured.  We prayed for those who experience such hard times, for them to hold onto their faith in the Lord, or to find faith in the midst of difficult times.  Our prayer trek continued through several stops, including below the statue of King Wenceslaus, for revival in this place that has largely given up on the church.  One of our last prayers was offered just below the balcony in Wenceslaus Square where Vaclav Havel stood as liberty from the Communist was being celebrated with the Velvet Revolution.  It was here he faced thousands of people and shook his keys, ringing in freedom, with thousands of people joining him, the large square filled with the sound of keys ringing in a new day!  We prayed for a different kind of freedom, a freedom from sin as these people rediscover the path of God in this beautiful city and land.

We couldn’t help but think, as we prayed many prayers on this day, the struggles in our own country, as so many people disregard the lessons of history and seek a socialistic path that largely disregards or disdains Christian faith.  We need revival, as well!  A renewed sense of a faith in God that isn’t about petty things we so often argue over but is about sincere efforts to follow where God leads, appreciating the freedoms we have and using them for good purpose.
Cross Point: One of the reasons we celebrate weekly with the Lord’s Supper is to have a history lesson, to remind us of where our focus should be with Jesus.  May we live that way and share this good news with others.      
Rick & Rexanne Willis in Prague
Wenceslas Statue
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