On my recent trip back to Germany I was reminded of my confirmation in 1964. Some friends were taken part in a celebration for 'Golden Confirmation.' Even though I was not part of their group, I started to reflect on what that experience did for me.
Prior to the confirmation event, we had to go to classes for a whole year. On Sundays, we had to attend church. A certain number of attendances were required to qualify for the confirmation. I remember sitting in the church, feeling very uneasy by looking at the crucified Jesus. Throughout the lessons, it didn’t become clear to me why Jesus had to die on the cross. I don’t remember much of the content of the classes I attended.
Never-the-less, I very much appreciate the advice our Pastor gave us, saying: “Make yourself expensive, because you are precious.” That, along with giving us the choice for a Bible quote, which I selected from Proverbs 16:9 has helped me tremendously over the years.
“The human heart plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”~ Proverbs 16:9
In fact, I believe, it has helped me to be guided along to find my faith and eventually, join the Unification Church. The teaching of the Divine Principle has given me all the answers I had in the days of my preparation for confirmation and thereafter. I learned that the crucifixion of Jesus was caused by the ignorance of the people of His days, and that He came to forgive our wrongdoings and to reconnect us to our Heavenly Parent, God. His sacrifice brought us spiritual salvation.
I am grateful for the foundation of faith which Pastor Bruns gave me. If nothing else, the quote has given me guidance throughout my life.
Going back to the small town, Gehrden by Hannover, also made me remember my first job. I was still in school, when I worked a few hours a week at the bakery and pastry shop Kohlenberg. At that time I didn’t know that the building was a historical timber-framed house build in 1748. The “Café am Markt” is still there today, although it is under new management. Working there as a young student of 15 also taught me that making one’s own money gives one pride and satisfaction. I didn’t have to ask my parents for an allowance and could finance my own interests in traveling.
Looking back on these experiences, I realize that we have to constantly make choices. Choices are made based on the beliefs and values we were given by our parents, teachers or other persons of influence, or we create for ourselves.