Film Friday: Alone in Berlin

When Otto and Anna’s only son is killed fighting in the German army Otto begins writing postcards against Hitler and leaving them in public places around Berlin.

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It is a courageous and quiet act of defiance, one that inevitably enrages the authorities. Over the next two years more than 200 postcards are handed in to the police. All of them encourage folks to rebel against the system and find a better way. Otto and Anna are wise and careful about their rebellion, always disguising the handwriting and wearing gloves so as to leave no fingerprints, they distribute their cards in a wide area and never visit the same place twice. The police are convinced that every single card would prove fruitless and be handed in, but ultimately that is not the case.

Sooner or later following Jesus will lead us to some kind of difference of opinion with the systems of this world. Not necessarily a noisy, showy one though. Jesus called us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. You could certainly describe Otto and Anna’s quiet call for justice in this way. They continued with their daily lives as normal, following rules and regulations, whilst secretly offering signs of hope to others. History is littered with those who stood up against corruption, untruth and injustice. The bible is too. When Esther had to confront King Xerxes she, like Otto, was careful and wise, throwing a couple of banquets for him before she brought the truth. (Esther chapter 5) When Peter writes one of his letters to us, he advises that we be ready to offer Jesus’s words of life and truth, but to do so with respect. ‘But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…’ 1 Peter 3 v 15. Who knows how many unknown and unsung heroes have rebelled down the ages for the sake of justice, compassion and truth, quietly living lives of hope and kindness, and offering an alternative way to others.

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