In October my wife and I will travel to Germany to visit the historic sites of the Reformation. We are looking forward to this seven-day cultural immersion experience that will bring the Reformation to life as we serve, learn, and celebrate in the places where Martin Luther did the same 500 years ago. The Luther500 Festival is an experience filled with travel, historical sites, cultural exchange, exploration of ideas, conversation, learning, service to others, and recreation. The trip is organized by the band Lost and Found. George Baum and Michael Bridges have been friends of our family for several years and I know that we will enjoy the tour that they have planned. This year’s trip is a professionals-in-ministry familiarization trip to prepare us to take a group in 2017.
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is in 2017. Dr. Martin Luther posted 95 thesis on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. The anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity for us to confess that Jesus Christ is our savior from sin, death, and the Devil.
I have been a Lutheran my whole life, during this week in Germany I look forward to re-engaging with my cultural, theological, familial heritage. We will stay in a hotel that is near the doors of the Castle church in Wittenberg that Dr. Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis. We will explore Luther’s land around Wittenberg. We will take a day trip to Leipzig and Eisleben. Leipzig is the city where Johann Sebastian Bach served as cantor. Eisleben is the town where Luther was born and died. We will take another day trip to Wartburg and Erfurt. Wartburg is a castle where Luther was hidden after the Diet of Worms and where he translated the New Testament into German. In Erfurt we will visit the Augustinian Monastery where Luther lived as a monk. Before we depart Germany we will spend some time in Berlin visiting the Reichstag Parliament, Brandenburg Gate, and remnants of the Berlin Wall.
One of the reasons Christi and I picked this group for this tour is that everyday will include Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer worship services. We did not want to just go on a tourist trip to these sites. We wanted to go on a trip that nourished us in history, conversation, and worship.
I am sure that I will take lots of pictures and have many stories to share when we come back. While we are gone, Christi’s parents will move into our house and take care of our children. Mike Hausch and area pastors will provide pastoral care. On October 11 Rev. Bob Mikkelson will preach at St. Paul. I am thankful for the many people that have worked to make this trip possible.