Weekends are for Tourists

This weekend has been filled with many good memories. On Saturday we traveled From Wittenberg to Erfurt to visit the Augustinian monastery where Luther began his life as a friar or a monk. We worshipped in the sanctuary where Luther gathered with his brothers to worship seven times a day. The stain-glass-glass windows include a rose which could well be the inspiration for the Luther’s seal or Luther’s Rose. 
We ate lunch at the Golden Swan restaurant in Erfurt which is the same place we ate two years ago on our tour.

We then traveled to Wartburg castle where Luther was taken after the Diet of Worms (I cannot recant. Here I stand!) for his safety. While in the castle, Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German in just eleven weeks.

On Sunday we worshipped at the Town Church, just a five minute walk from our place. This is the church where Martin Luther preached over two thousand times. A visiting acquire from Berlin provided special music throughout the service. Members of our group participated in worship, and I was blessed to serve communion with the pastor and my colleagues from around the world. I will cherish this moment forever.

Following the service we walked to The Luthergarten where Soliette, a pastor of the church in Nicaragua and fellow participant in this seminar planted a tree on behalf of her church. This is an apple tree, and when she gets home they will plant a mango tree in commemoration of this one.
After lunch we travel to Torgau, about an hour’s drive from Wittenberg. This is an important town in the history of the Second World War and the Reformation as well as the burial place of Katharina von Bora, also known as Katie Luther.  
It was in Torgau where Russian and American troops met each other along the Elbe River near the end of World War II. There you will find it sculpture and plaque commemorating this important event. How moving to be here on Veterans Day.

During the Reformation, the town council closed all cloisters in 1523. Citizens of Torgau destroyed the paintings and statues of saints in the churches and stormed the Franciscan monastery. After Luther had driven Andreas Karlstadt (Bodenstein) from Saxony in 1524, he enforced the expulsion of Karlstadt’s followers in Torgau in 1529.  The Torgau Articles, which was a draft of the Augsburg Confession was composed by Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen and Jonas in the town in 1530.

Frederick the Wise, also known as Frederick III, Elector of Saxony and successors had Hartenfels Castle at Torgau built by architect Conrad Pflüger and his successor Konrad Krebs. The court chapel, constructed in 1543-44 by Nikolaus Gromann, was consecrated by Martin Luther on 5 October 1544; it is thus the second oldest newly built protestant church in the world, after the court chapel of Neuburg Castle which was consecrated in 1543. Luther designed the chapel with the pulpit in the middle of the sanctuary. 
After our tour of the church where Katie Luther is buried and the Hartenfels Castle and Chapel, we walked through the town before heading home to Wittenberg.

It has been a great week of study and fellowship, worship and sightseeing. We are back to the lessons tomorrow.




Pastor Charlie 


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