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Ein Feste Burg

June 26, 2014

We arrived in Wittenberg late in the day on Tuesday. Within 30 minutes, we spotted the poster for Wittenberg English Ministry – with my name on it as the preacher! Frankly, it was an ego boost and a humbling moment all at the same time. I get to preach in Wittenberg, the birthplace of the Reformation! It is an honor, to be sure, but humbling in the sense that I stand in the shadow of those whom God had called 500 years ago to set free the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a new way.

Within an hour, we had found Lutherans from Wisconsin (of course). We played the always fun “It’s a small Lutheran world” game. Turns out they were Cobbers and remembered the legendary Jake Estenson from the Concordia football team!

As we walked our way through the city, we discovered (or in my case, rediscovered) a town of great beauty. The beauty is currently getting a facelift, however. Both main churches in town – the Schlosskirche and the Stadtkirche – are undergoing extensive renovations in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. As such, they are shrouded and covered in scaffolding, closed to the public. This means, of course, that I won’t get to preach in either historic church. Neither the Reformation nor the Gospel itself, however, are about buildings, anyway.

I do get to lead devotional services three days each week in the historic Corpus Christi Kapelle. Yesterday, there were about 20 people who came to worship. We sort of made it up on the fly as the worship materials I had shipped over were detained in customs – perhaps “worship bulletins” is thought to be code for illicit drugs? Anyway, the Gospel was proclaimed and the impromptu congregation belted out Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress” with gusto. Buildings may be closed and bulletins unarrived but they cannot win the day. As Luther reminds us, thanks to Jesus Christ, the Kingdom’s ours forever!

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” Psalm 46:1-3

From → Sabbatical 2014

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