Most of us are peace-loving people. Unfortunately, we have still not managed to make the Christmas message of “peace on earth” a reality. Repeatedly this makes us sad and also angry. Let us continue to work within the realm of our possibilities so that everything which hurts and separates us will at some point be overcome.

It’s a blessing that we know a universal language – namely music. It is capable of reaching our hearts directly. I experienced this firsthand and intensively during an event at the Maulbronn Monastery. Despite the general lack of time I must tell you about it. By the way, I have found one can influence this simply by slowing down.

So it was advertised that the organist Wolfgang Seifen would improvise music to accompany the silent film Faust. The film, directed by William Murnau was released in 1926. What was presented was simply incredible. The film was projected upon the screen, which was placed above the altar. And Wolfgang Seifen accompanied it, improvising for two whole hours in an ingenious style and manner. During the struggle between good and evil, in the end the Archangel Gabriel set himself in Mephisto’s way. ONE word could undo his pact, as Murnau had the Archangel say in the subtitles. Mephisto begged for the word, the music swelled increasingly, Seifen pulled out all the stops, he produced sounds that filled the monastery church and my soul to the very last corner. Indescribably intense. And then it glowed in the dark nave above the altar. It practically took one’s breath away. Everyone cheered. I applauded, shouting “bravo” with arms outstretched up to the organist.

In the meantime the Word, as it appeared below, was emblazoned on the screen, while Jesus was hanging behind it. This remains unforgettable to me.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy New Year.