Interior of the Castle Church in Wittenberg
The last two days of our stay in Europe were spent traveling from Berlin to Frankfurt. On our way we stopped at two places that were famous for producing two German men who made enormous contributions to the cause of Christ in European history. The first man was Martin Luther. I need say nothing about the contribution he made. He is as famous in America as he is in Germany. But not that many Americans could answer what the town of Wittenberg had to do with Luther. The answer is that it was here that Luther threw down the gauntlet challenging the Roman Catholic Church on its practice of selling indulgences. He actually developed a tract of 95 statements against this practice and nailed it to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517. That set into motion a firestorm of charges and counter charges that nearly cost Luther his life. But what resulted was a movement that would not be stopped. A movement we know as the Reformation. Kathy and I visited the Castle Church and we would love to have given you a picture of the very door where this happened. But unfortunately because of a local war the church was partially destroyed and the door along with it within a couple of hundred years after the church was built. But the church was refurbished and contains the body of Martin Luther to this day.
The other man contributed to the cause of Christ in a very different way. His name was Johann Sebastian Bach. He wasn't a pastor, or reformer, or politician but a musician. And he is equally as famous as Luther all over the world. Kathy and I stayed overnight in a lovely old German "Ratskeller" hotel (that is its actual name) in Leipzig. We wanted to visit the famous Thomaskirche where Bach served as "Kantor" (or Music Director). He not only composed much of the great works which we all know while here but also wrote weekly choral music for his choir to perform at each Sunday service. Bach wasn't just a composer of great organ works, piano works, cantatas, motets, etc. He was an outstanding Christian who let be known that the greatest motivation for his productions was the Lord God. He wrote at the beginning and end of all his sacred works (and many of his secular ones as well) "Soli Deo Gloria" (glory to God alone). He was very much in tune with the spirit of Martin Luther and the Reformation that was still underway in his own time (in the early 18th Century). Bach was the cornerstone of the sacred music that helped inspire the spirit of the Reformation. He has also been an inspiration to us all.
Well, Kathy and I are in our room in Frankfurt preparing for a long flight back home (16 hours in the air, from here to Philadelphia and then on to Phoenix). We hope you have enjoyed sharing these experiences with us.