Well, that first Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti) was special. Celbrating Friederike´s birthday, going to church in St. Magdalena (Halle) and visiting Eisleben/Mansfeld afterwards. It was a good day to consider the brevity of life and the great blessings of Holy Baptism granting God´s everlasting grace.
Getting to Halle in good time, was no big deal, because the roads were pretty open at that time of the day and we didn´t have to contend with the flash hailstorm, which caused a pile-up of 50+ vehicles that afternoon on the local highway. In the St. Magdalena´s chapel in the central Moritzburg everything was well prepared and laid out for the divine service with nearly 30 communicants. That´s not too bad for a Sunday during the school holidays
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8)
Preaching on 1.Peter 1:3-9 (Christian hope + confidence) was a good introduction to our excursion to Lutherstadt Eisleben afterwards. That´s were Dr. Martin Luther was born (10th November 1483) and died years later 18th February 1546).
At some stage he advised, that we should contemplate the seriousness of death and dying on good days – sunny, bright and joyful – days on which one could also reflect on Predestination etc. Well, the 1st Sunday after Easter was a perfect day for that as rain and sunshine alternated in perfect harmony.
This Sunday has its focus on holy Baptism and the inherent death & dying to sin and all evil, whilst the Holy Spirit raises us up in faith simultaneously to the ongoing challenge of new life in the living and reigning Lord Jesus Christ, exercising righteousness and purity in and through us forever.
The Luther sites and museums have been nicely put together. Everything is nicely translated and accessible.
Luther was baptized on the 11th of November in St.Peter & Pauls. This church has been renovated most marvelously and, in its architecture, focusses most appropriately on Baptism. A definite highlight and well worth a visit, if you ask me. St. Andrews, were Luther preached his last 4 sermons that cold winter of 1546, is up for renovation this fall – and they will hopefully come up with similar brilliance and success.
Going through the reconstructed death chambers of Luther´s final days, I was moved by the good display which makes such brilliant use of documents, pictures and commentaries – visual and audio. So, you can read in your own time and listen to some great snitbits – like Luther´s collection of biblical verses on which our hope for salvation, forgiveness of sins, resurrection and eternal life rests. That was very comforting indeed +
A number of passages from Luther´s writings were also quoted like his comforting argument addressing a friend, who was so sad at the prospect of death and dying. Luther argued: “Did the world treat you so well, that you have forgotten, Christ´s promises of salvation?”
He continued to argue about Christ as our best friend (in heaven), who surpasses all others in faithfulness, trustworthiness, love, truth and honesty by far. Why should we not look forward to being with him always?
We had time to dive up to Mansfeld too – some 9km from Eisleben – and saw Luther´s first school, his parent´s home there and also his lord´s castle up on the hill. Here the church was locked – and the castle is somewhat run down, the place is kept as a retreat center, but it looks more like a commune than any else – goats and all. The castle chapel was an inglorious mix of all and everything – nothing to write home about. Thankfully it is out in the woods, up on the mountain and somewhat out of the way – so hopefully not too many come across this eyesore. No, I´m exaggerating. It wasn´t all that bad – and the pictures show, that it´s all just a matter of perspective and ignoring the misfits.
All in all it was a delightful Sunday. A nice birthday of daughter Friederike, who is leaving for Munich today. Thankfully Angelika is already back at home in Pretoria and checking in right now to fly back here tonight – over Zürich and Berlin (Tegel).
We too are always on our final journey and as the poet reminds us and we always sing on Saturday nights: “Ein Tag, der sags dem andern, nein Leben ist ein Wandern zur großen Ewigkeit, o Ewigkeit, so schöne, mein Herz an Dich gewöhne, mein Heim ist nicht in dieser Zeit.” (Gerhard Tersteegen 1697-1769)
If you want to read this in a different format try this link here. https://mailchi.mp/62f9969f6d79/quasimodogeniti-rejoice-in-your-holy-baptism