Thank God for this day. Really. Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall met its maker.
As Sarah Pulliam Bailey, my newest colleague at GetReligion, and a longtime colleague at Christianity Today, points out, God had a lot to do with the fall. It was prayer services that led to peaceful protests to led to the fall of the wall. Similar, I would imagine, to the Christian conviction behind the Solidarity movement in Poland.
From the Wall Street Journal:
These peaceful protests that eventually brought down the Berlin Wall, known as the Monday Demonstrations, were an outgrowth of prayer services that had been held at St. Nicholas’s Church in Leipzig since 1982. By Oct. 9, 1989, the demonstration at St. Nicholas had swelled to more than 70,000 people. Others in East German cities followed suit.
“Often these protesters were protected by the church. At the Gethsemane Church in a working-class district of East Berlin, recently, the church’s role in the protest was clearly evident: Politics and prayer marked the evening, and the walls of the church were covered with fliers promoting political causes,” the Journal wrote.
By the summer of 1989, “these groups began spilling into the streets, where their boldness caught the imagination of the public. Over the summer, their cause got additional impetus: Hungary opened its borders, creating an avenue for East Germans to escape to the West, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited, counseling the East German government to heed its social unrest by changing.”