The lectern is from the 12th century. That’s a thousand years ago, give or take a century. The building around it is about seventy years old, give or take a little for the process of clearing the debris and rebuilding. The building was mostly destroyed in 1945.

The church building and the lectern are in Freudenstadt in Germany. It’s one of several church buildings we’ve visited during the last week, most of them with roots in the 12th and 13th century, most of them with stories of fires and rebuilding, this one with a story of being bombed and rebuilt.

I think that once we get home and I start being able to think on a keyboard again, I’ll have opportunity to metabolize observations into learning, to understand a little of my experiences.

But on our last night in a tiny village where the three US citizens under this roof make up about 3% of the human population of the village, I need to remember that the stories I’m part of have long threads, punctuated by brief episodes in which I appear as a bit player. My work depends on my work, of course. My faithfulness matters.

But God’s faithfulness matters more. The continued retelling of the stories of the four Gospel writers lasts beyond the buildings and lives in and between and around the tellers.