Mother’s Day Sunday and we were in Bern, Switzerland. The home of my paternal ancestors and dominated by the Cathedral of Bern (Das Berner Münster) where the family worshipped and served. This is a protestant church arising from the Reformation. Attending a service at the Munster was the reason this city was on our itinerary.
For the second consecutive Sunday we attended a service where, if you hadn’t already read the book you would have had no idea what the plot was! The service was entirely in German, but came with a very thorough service outline (see image) and we were surprised how well we we able to follow along. My only knowledge of German language has been acquired from a childhood watching Hogan’s Heroes on TV, so is not much use in 2016.
It came as quite a surprise that the eloquent and expressive scripture reading of Genesis 27 (Mose 27) by a woman from the congregation made the chapter come to life and it was easy to follow along on my phone in English and know exactly where she was up to. The Gospel reading chosen was John 2 v1-11, and the Psalm was the 22nd.
When the pastor climbed the spectacular rostrum to preach his Mother’s Day sermon it again was surprising that it was possible to make connections based on prior knowledge. He was clearly a gifted orator with a carefully crafted sermon. His message to mothers on this special day was to take a lesson from how these two mothers, Rebecca and Mary, raised their sons and got them to do what they wanted!
Rebecca of course was manipulating Jacob for personal gain and family reasons (to claim the birthright inheritance that should have gone to his older brother), and at the expense of another son. Mary had noticed the need around her and knew that her son could meet it if he was prepared to show who he was - this was the first miracle he performed by turning water to wine at a wedding. So in asking him to perform the miracle she was also asking him to ‘come out’.
The connection to the Psalm was explained to us at the end of the service by the pastor, who spoke very good English. His point was referring to the security and protection of the child in the mother’s womb which comes to an end at birth. Then a mother protects her child in different ways through life.
The pipe organ in this church provided another splendid example of cathedral music and searching online has made us aware of its reputation, with many youtubes having been posted of people coming to Bern to play it.
The images I have included in this post are of
- the pastor preaching the sermon
- a photo taken after the service to show how high up the rostrum was - they have very high tech audio and lighting in the church -,
- the hymn book and
- the order of service.