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Ehrfurcht

The wind blows

Rain against the window glass

The visitors arose

In the air lingers,

The Organs' extended bass


Today, I broke out of the daily rut and did something I don't usually do: I went to the Church. Not for what you think—to pray or for a sudden re-discovery of God.

Instead, I was there for the 15 minutes of Organ music they play twice weekly at 3 pm.

I was sitting in this building, which had been rebuilt from its ashes after WW2. The Church is a mix of the old structure and the new minimalist concrete. There was little to no gold or extravagant paintings. Simple heavy wooden benches, high arcs.

Everyone in silence. An oasis of calm in the city.

Outside, the thunder roared in the distance.

Then, the bells at 3 pm.

After that, the Organ's first note.

The soundwaves resonated deep inside. A masterclass in counterpoint ensued, and reverberations shook every atom in the building.

In German, the word we have for the feeling this setting evoked is Ehrfurcht.

It translates to awe or reverence.

I feel the German word expresses more accurately the aspect of sheer respect and a feeling that there is something much bigger than us.

It's a combination of honor and fear (Ehre + Furcht)

Awe, after all, is heavily overused in the form of awesome.

When we say people need to find God, maybe Ehrfurcht is a good start.


I find it in experiences like this, when standing in huge buildings built by humans hundreds of years ago, knowing that they'd not live to see their completion.

I feel it when listening to music from the three Bs (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) and other masterpieces that trigger deep respect, gratitude, and a belief that there's something beyond us.

I'll definitely go back to the 15 minutes of Organ music.

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