This June I had an opportunity to visit the Peace Academy Conference in Dresden. It is a gathering of Christian youth that takes place every two years. It draws attention to many issues, which are troubling the world, hence the name. The opening ceremony took place on the main square of the city, near a newly reconstructed Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), which was destroyed in the WWII and rebuilt in 2005. Therefore, it became a symbol of peace and unity.
On the first day of the Conference, when everything was being set up, I noticed 4 young street punk musicians right behind our stage. Their music wasn’t too loud, but it did interfere a bit with what our speakers had to say. “They could have been quieter” – was my thought.. “Or at least they could have moved to another place, there is plenty of room here”.
But the conference opened, and I forgot about them. Then during the intercession they somehow sneaked into our tents (though you had to have a wrist band to come in). Their behavior was a bit too noticeable as they were allowing themselves to dance around, shout some random things and just have a good time. “Ok, they got in, why don’t they keep it down? What do they want?” – Now these thoughts were going through the minds of many people around. But no one dared to say or do anything. Meanwhile they continued to be the ‘uninvited’ guests of the gathering.
The next day they were at the square in the early morning, and again were visible here and there. (They were dressed in sort punk-alternative attire). Meanwhile I already suspected them to have been drinking or on drugs.
The next morning, Sunday, I saw them trying to get into the church for the worship. The volunteers were trying to prevent them, in a way, as no one knew what they could do and they again looked a bit tipsy. But a few minutes later I saw them walking through the aisles carrying what seemed to be a box of beer. That’s where I started to get angry, but hey, the worship is about to start, put your Christian robe on! The first speaker that morning was saying some rather general things, which no one could remember afterwards, but everyone remembered that his speech was constantly interrupted by these 2 young boys and 2 young girls. They were throwing rather aching questions into the room such as: “why are we here talking about helping people instead of being with people”. “Why are we not protesting against a neo Nazi group” (there were about 500 supporters of these ideas in the town square on that day). And so on… The speaker was trying to reason with them, but they kept shouting louder and louder. And then they started running through the aisles and throwing papers with some text on. Then they got on the stage, grabbed the microphones and started singing “Komm Heiliger Gheist” (Come Holy Spirit) but the rock version of it. And then the organ started accompanying that rock version of their singing. And after they started stripping and changing into… ‘proper’ clothes… And spoke ‘proper’ language, with ‘Bible’ words. “Jesus was with the outcasts, lawbreakers, prostitutes, those unwelcomed and not accepted. And where were you these days, Christ-followers? Did you greet us? Did you welcome us? Did you have something to say to us? Or did you want us to disappear?” Little did we know, that the whole thing was staged.
With these words the realization of my terrible misjudgment of these people, I burst into tears. Suddenly I felt like Peter who became ashamed of Jesus 3 times. So I couldn’t but ask for forgiveness from these people, as soon as everything was finished. They are just wonderful! And their performance taught me more than many hours of youth meetings after church. Once again God showed me that Christianity without actions is empty words and nothing. “Faith without actions is dead” [James 2:17].