That's why he accepted the invitation of the christuskirche to deliver the sunday sermon here, even though he's not a theologian, but only a "harmless lawyer be. Although he has given many speeches as a politician in the state and federal parliaments and as a member of the evangelical state and federal synods, the pulpit is a special challenge for him.
A difficult barlach lithograph had been chosen by the congregation as a sermon topic for beckstein. Its title is: "temptation of jesus by the devil in the desert". By linking the subject with his book on the ten commandments, which was published only last year, beckstein was able to limit the interpretation of the picture to essential statements.
From the image to the commandments
The sea of death symbolized by many small crosses in barlach's painting of the battle of verdun in 1916 illustrates, according to beckstein, where a world without god and without commandments is headed. "The lithograph pushes us with the nose to the bitter realization of the catastrophic consequences of the violation of the fifth commandment not to kill", right at the beginning, beckstein made the connection between the image and the commandments.
"The ten commandments are not some archaic orders that the oh-so-modern man no longer needs to follow, for they provide answers to many current questions", beckstein got down to his real topic. Where these are not respected, social orders were disrupted and people were thrown into misfortune.
The commandments also had a fitting mabgabe for the financial crisis. For the commandment not to steal protects property, but the injunction not to covet one's neighbor's property is a reminder of modesty. Market economy and ownership are important in principle, but excessive competition is fundamentally wrong.
Boron speculation is theft
"The focus must not be on the return, but on the human being", reminded beckstein. Therefore, society must be organized in such a way that not only the rich and powerful, but also those who are on the shady side, are brought to the center. "I'm glad that our social market economy has done an excellent job of solving this problem, but there's a lot of disguised poverty here, but also unconcealed wealth, the guest preacher took a critical look at the present social system. And he clearly stated: "if someone earns billions through boron speculation, for me it is theft"."
Finally, beckstein again referred to barlach's lithograph: "to respect the ten commandments, but also the double commandment of love, is what this picture wants to tell us."
Reactions to beckstein's sermon
After the service, pastor renate topf thanked beckstein for his "clear and lively sermon, from which we can all take something home with us." she always wants the christuskirche to be as full as it was on this sunday. Numerous christians from the surrounding area and the neighboring catholic parish also attended the service.
"Wonderful, wonderful, ideal", parishioner erich gebhardt(85) from forchheim-sud comments on beckstein's guest sermon. He had seen the politician almost only on television, and now he had been allowed to shake his hand and receive a specially signed visit card from him.
"It was the best speech i have ever heard from him", says winfried nather, who came over from the peace church eggolsheim. And irmgard liebert, also from eggolsheim, added: "everyone was thrilled." beckstein's sermon was more lively and relaxed than one is used to from theologians, says dorothea preib and adds: "it was just a political sermon, a theologian would formulate it differently."
the commandments interpreted up to date
Willi Schafarschik states that beckstein "put the confusions of capitalism in the context of the ten commandments very well." the fact that he interpreted the ten commandments in a very topical way is a positive sign. He also "built a bridge between us and him through his personal remarks". In this way, he put himself on the same level as the listeners and conveyed the feeling that "we are all the same cattle."