Speechless (or is it wordless in this case?)

March 19, 2006

I just got back from Germany a couple of hours and I have been thinking about what I was going to write in here for a while but didn’t know how to start. I figured just sitting down and typing would help it come out. Here I go.

On Wednesday we left at 5:45am for Berlin. Once we got to Berlin we rented to vehicles and drove three hours to the town of Erfurt. This is the town in which Martin Luther did his studying to become a monk. We stayed at a monastery called the Protestant Augustinian Monastery. (I feel like I am going to be giving a history lesson, sorry.) Luther had intentions of becoming a lawyer. However, plans changed when he was walking outside one day with a friend during a storm and his friend was struck by lightning. Luther vowed that day that he would become a monk because somehow he was saved from the lightning. After telling his parents at the age of 21 (my age. scary) that he was going to study religion and become a monk he came to this monastery to study. I stayed there!!!! Crazy!!!! We saw his room and where he studied and worshiped. The other awesome part about this stay is that Christine and I stayed in a man named Spalatin’s room. Spalatin was a mentor to Luther in all of his moral and religious matters. He also translated all of Luther’s writings for the chief elector, Frederick the Wise. He had a huge role in the reformation and I somehow got the opportunity to stay in his room!!!!

On Thursday we made our way to Eisenach to see the Wartburg Castle. Again this was insane. Luther was “held prisoner” here under the guidance of Fredrick the Wise. Fredrick was a member of the Catholic Church and was supposed to be against Luther but never felt this way. He never supported Luther publicly but he also never punished him either. He knew that Luther waS going to get himself in trouble if he stayed on the path his was on. Fredrick had him be in the castle for a  while and lay low. While there he translated the New Testement in 10 weeks from Latin to German. Luther wanted the common person to be able to read the Gospel and really learn the non-truths that they were being taught. The castle was founded in 1056. Walking in a building this old is so hard for me to even take in. There is simply nothing like this at home. I couldn’t believe what I was doing.

After the castle we took a quick trip into the town of Eisenach and went to the house in which Luther lived in with his family when he was a school boy. It is now a museum for kids about Luther so not a whole lot to see but still a good thinng to visit. What’s so crazy about this all is the little things we saw by just looking. Across from Luther’s house was Bach’s (yeah the musician) dad’s house. Walking back to the car we passed Bach’s house and grabed the obligatory brat.

It was time to get back into the car and head to Buchenwald, a concentration camp from World War II. This is an experience that I think that only I will truly be able to understand. I can share a little about the camp. It was a labor camp in which the workers made weapons. It was also a camp where medical testing was done as well. Many of the inmates died from these testings. I walked through many parts of the camp and my heart was completely full of emotion. Hard to explain right now. An interesting fact is that the famous thelogian and fighter against Hitler, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was held at this camp. He died at another camp but spent some time at Buchenwald.

Friday found us back in the cars headed to Wittenberg. Once getting to Wittenberg we had some time to walk around and take the city in. What I loved so much about this town is all the courtyards off the main streets. It would look there was only a couple of stores or homes but then there would be an alley and all of sudden there were six more buildings. I loved it. Here we visited the University of Wittenberg where Fredrick the Wise ordered Luther to come be a professor. We walked through his house where he did lots of his teachings. This is where Luther had his table talks and translated the Old Testement. There are so many details I could tell you about this but I will perhaps save this for you to look up on your own. That night we went out as an entire group to The Potato House. It was some really good German originals. We had a birthday in our group and it was St. Patricks Day so lots of fun was had that evening in the town of Wittenberg.

Saturday we continued our tour with The Castle Church where the 95 Theses were posted. Also this is where Luther was buried. Super amazing to be around all of this history. We then walked over to St. Mary’s church where Luther actually did his preaching. He didn’t ever preach in the main church because it was a Catholic church and he didn’t want to preach to the high society; he wanted to do his preachings for the common people. Again there is so much that I could say about these sites but I don’t want to bore.

This trip was priceless to me. There are so many thought in my head and feelings in my heart. I feel so completely connected right now to my identity as a Christian. Being amongst the history of Luther was so empowering and I want to read and read and read everything about him and learn all about his ulitmate dedication to God and his faith.

I took an insane amount of pictures. I will post them tomorrow sometime. Look through them.

Love to all.

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