Wednesday, April 8, 2009
SNAPSHOT #4: Wittenberg
Today (Mar 03/16/09), we drove with Kelley and Rhonda to Wittenberg, the seat of the Reformation, and walked through this lovely nearly empty town --no tourists to speak of. Kelley and I climbed the tower of the 95 theses church—the Fortress Church—and we all wandered through the streets noting the remarkable number of people who lived, studied, and taught there...from Michel Ney of Napoleon's time to von Staupitz to Melancthon and on and on ....not of course to forget the great Martin himself....
Amazing that this quiet town is the cradle of so much change and revolution and death and enlightenment..... odd how the world revolves around such places, huh? Once upon a time, this was in what is now call the Former East. Now a part of a unified state....proud of its heritage and hiding so much of its most recent past in order to celebrate its great present and future..... Irony: during the years it was hostage within the Soviet Union and the divided Germany, still, above the city, the great tower stood with these so uncommunistic words: Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott
I am so glad to have been there. once, I told Kelley, I used to scoff at people who talked about walking where saints have trod... perhaps it is age, but it is deeply meaningful to walk in Tyre and Sidon where Alexander and Caesar and Paul and Silas and Jesus walked and now to worship at noon with a small group in the great Marienkirche, surrounded by the ages, and sing the psalms in German...and to walk the cobblestone streets where Luther walked on his way to sit with Malancthon to talk about life and faith and reason and freedom.... pretty amazing!
Judy and I are at work on learning German—at least learning it well enough to let people know we are trying! I studied German at Warner Pacific so many years ago with Mrs. Grace Donohew and Dr. Ulrich Hardt—neither would testify to my gift with languages. Judy, well, she studied Spanish with Mrs. Ratzlaff—hasn’t helped her much with her German.
But we are trying and slowly trying out expressions in our daily speech—with each other; not yet with anyone else. My German pronunciation is not too bad and we are, thanks to son Joel, able to use the Rosetta Stone®—a great interactive “immersion” program for studying language.