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Woodpeckers on the Wall

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

The coming week marks the anniversary of the division of Berlin, Germany. On the afternoon of August 12, 1961, leaders of the German Democratic Republic signed an order to close the border between East and West Berlin, and erect a massive Wall dividing the city. But this Wall, like all things evil, did not last.

On November 9, 1989, following weeks of unrest, the East German government announced that its citizens would be allowed to visit West Germany and West Berlin. The border guards, unable to control the huge crowds who were eager to exercise this new freedom, abandoned their posts altogether. Ecstatic East Berliners cascaded over, around, and through the iconic Wall that had separated families, friends, and a country for a generation.

The Berlin Wall didn’t fall down all at once, neither literally or figuratively. In the weeks that followed that revolutionary November night, I remember watching people from all over the world come to Berlin with picks, shovels, and sledgehammers to do their part in tearing down one of the ugliest symbols of restriction, oppression, and injustice ever created.

It was years later that I learned the nickname given to these unnamed, unknown people who tore down the Berlin Wall piece by piece and blow by hammer blow.They were called the “Mauespechte:” The “woodpeckers on the wall.”

Those who crow the loudest and make the most noise may not be the ones leading the action, or actually getting things done. Instead, bit by bit, year by year, with blood and tears, suffering mistreatment and injustice they stay at it. They believe in those things that last longer than tyranny, unfairness, domination, greed, violence, and power as brokered by the forces of this world.

With their work gloves on and hammers in hand, they believe and work toward peace, hope, justice, non-violence, and the brotherhood of God’s children. They believe “every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.”

We may have never thought of the word “woodpecker” as a compliment, but reconsideration might be a good idea. God knows this world could stand a few on the wall today; those who will persistently and defiantly chip away at what stands in the way of peace, justice, and mercy.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.

 

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