Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

German Church Facilitates Reconciliation

The first time the town of Tubingen, Germany, expelled all of its Jewish residents was in 1477. It soon became a place where anti-Jewish doctrines thrived, especially during World War II. Today, however, the Jerusalem Post reports that not only has a tiny Jewish community returned to the town, but there also exists the Tubingen Offensive Stadtmission Church (TOS). The church has grown to about 250 members over the last 20 years, and each of its members possesses a heartfelt love for both the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. The church meets in a large tent built on top of the same railroad tracks that once deported Jews from Tubingen to concentration camps throughout Germany and Poland. The mission of the church is to confess and repent of the sins of their forefathers.

In 2007, TOS organized a March of Life to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day. Their march, which covered the roughly 350 kilometers from Bisingen to Dachau, followed the route many Jews walked as a death march in early 1945, just months before World War II ended.

TOS held a special meeting the night before the march began. Four members stood before the assembly and told stories of their own family's participation in the Nazi regime. One woman, who now sings in the church worship group, had recently discovered that her grandfather was an SS guard who beat Jews and other prisoners. She and three others then followed the example of Jesus by humbly washing the feet of several Jewish guests, including some who were Holocaust survivors. The Jewish guests then symbolized their forgiveness by washing the feet of their German hosts. Rose Price, a survivor of six concentration camps, embraced and comforted several Germans who had broken into tears.

One TOS leader, Stephan Ahrens, said the march had achieved its goal of "confront(ing) the memories of the past and talking about them, breaking the veil of silence."

A man from Syria witnessed the event and observed longingly that if Germans and Jews could be reconciled, the same model might also be applied between Arabs and Jews.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Funeral Held for Racial Slur

On Saturday, July 9, 2007, thousands of people, including state and city officials, gathered in Detroit's Hart Plaza for a funeral. They all watched as a horse-drawn carriage made ...

[Read More]

Statistics on Race Relations in America

A 2008 ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,125 U.S. adults (including 201 African Americans) shows that many Americans think race relations are improving:

  • When asked if they think race relations in the United States are excellent, good, not so good, or poor, 4 percent said excellent (up 2 percent from 16 years ago); 47 percent said good (up 17 percent); 36 percent said not so good (down from 45 percent); 12 percent said poor (down from 21 percent). The remaining 1 percent was unsure (down from 2 percent).
[Read More]