Monday 1 June 2009

Planting an apple tree in Bremen

A few stray shots do no justice to what was, overwhelmingly, the largest and most impressive learning gathering for Christians in Europe this year. Dancing around the streets to 20 samba bands with 250,000 others is, indeed, an unusual thing to be able to do. There’s a great account of the event by Martin Flower, a member of St Anne & St Agnes Lutheran Church in the City of London, who went to entrely different things from me, here.

One challenging phrase was quoted incidentally, however, at 3 events I attended. It is one description, by Martin Luther, of what it means to have real faith:
Auch wenn ich wüsste,
dass morgen die Welt zugrunde geht,
würde ich heute noch
einen Apfelbaum pflanzen.
Which being translated means
Even if I knew that the whole world
was going to smash tomorrow,
Still, I would plant an Apple Tree today.


Erika Baker said...

Thanks for all your reporting from Bremen and for those lovely photos.

It’s good to see the Luther quote in the right context! Too many have turned it into a sign of hopelessness, quoting it when they mean to say that it’s time to plant an apple tree now because the world is already doomed.

But what faith! I’m not sure I would be capable of that for myself.

Revd. Neal Terry said...

I am delighted that Kirchentag has been inspirational for you. I have been to the last five but circumstances prevented me from going this year. Your posts have been reassuring.

byron smith said...

It's a great quote, but do you have the reference in ML? I think it might have actually be associated with MLK.

It seems the first record of it appears in 1944 attributed to a priest named Karl Lotz (see e.g. here) and that it was MLK who popularised it.

Jane said...

Sorry not to have seen you at the Kirchentag - I was blogging from there too. About Martin Luther - this was always an apocryphal Luther phrase but it was popular before teh war too I think - you know presumably about the Luthergarten thing
Sorry I really must learn how to emd links into my comments

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Thanks, Erika. That's the ay I think people were taking it at the KT. MTIM, hope you make it to Munich next year, ayway! Byron, thanks. I've not see the original, but would be interested to know how authentic it is. I remember being given an account of the wildly popular "Prayer of St Francis" that traces it back to a Franciscan mission during the first world war! This could be similar. let's just say "even if it isn't authentic, it ought to be" or perhaps "If he didn't say it in the sixteenth century, he did now!."

Jane, terrific to hear from you. You won't remember, but I think we met at the International Centre at the Messe in Hannover in 2005. Hope all's well with life and work, and am delighted to add your blog to my feeder roll.

Jane said...

Great to be in touch again!
thanks for your thoughtful and heartfelt posting about the BNP - what to say...
Anyway hope to meet up in Munich if not before - hope you'll make it to the ecumenical kirchentag

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