Reformation Tour—Epilogue

Luther statue in Dresden

Yesterday we said our goodbyes to those who had become our neighbors on the cruise, and to each other.

The Wife and I and Ann had the earlier flights with different stopovers. Terri left later.

Breakfast at the hotel was rushed because of the time of our flight. It was the first time I had felt rushed in nearly two weeks.

While at breakfast I asked if anyone could remember if at any of the Luther exhibits or sites we had ever seen or heard explained the foundational truth of the Reformation—salvation by grace through faith.

None of us could recall one instance.

Luther’s insight in reading Romans 1:17 and understanding salvation as a gift from God that comes through faith— we had never seen it explained, noted, or discussed at any of the sites. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 11

Berlin Wall built on ruins of Gestapo Headquarters

We spent the morning on a bus tour of Berlin.

Berlin is not a particularly old city by European standards, but it is even younger in appearance because it was essentially rebuilt after World War II.

At the same time, Berlin is very old for its age. It has enough history in the last one-hundred years to serve any other city for a millennium.

Between 9:00 a.m and 12:30 a.m. we drove through central Berlin, making stops at a remaining section of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

After lunch, we all went our separate ways. The Wife went shopping, Ann went to see the Luther Exhibit  at the Museum of History at Martin-Gropius-Bau, and Terri went to the Topography of Terror.

Trying to include as much as possible into our last day in Berlin, I walked to Checkpoint Charlie, Topography of Terror, and then the Luther Exhibit at Museum of History. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 10

Sanssouci-“Without air conditioning”

Today, as we traveled from Wittenberg to Berlin we also traveled forward in time from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century as follow the Reformation forward in time.

We drove north from Wittenberg to Worlitz Palace and Gardens, which were created by Duke Leopold III of Anhalt-Desault (1740 to 1817) after returning from a Grand Tour of Europe.

Leopold was also strongly influenced by the Enlightenment, as was the man at the center of our next stop.

Further north on the way to Berlin, we stopped in Potsdam and Sanssouci Palace of Frederick the Great. Sanssouci is French for “without cares.” Sanssouci was Frederick the Great’s summer palace. It was beautiful, but it was so hot outside it was almost unbearable, and it wasn’t much better inside the palace. Terri correctly noted Sanssouci must really mean “without air conditioning” because all we cared about was finishing the tour, buying a bottle of water, and getting back on the bus.

Frederick the Great (1712-1786), King of Prussia, was also a student of the Enlightenment. It certainly appears Frederick the Great was not a Christian, and at best was a theist. In fact, Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire lived at the palace for three years and was the court philosopher. Voltaire made the famous statement, “The Holy Roman Empire, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 9

The Wittenberg Door—kind of

Our big day had finally arrived.

We were sitting in the lounge at 8:30 a.m. waiting for the cruise director to call our group to board the bus to Wittenberg.

I had spent about an hour in the Word earlier in the morning and was prepared for the day. Now, I was itching with anticipation.

I tried to turn the conversation to Wittenberg and the day ahead of us to no avail.

The Wife: “This Bloody Mary is too sweet.”

Ann: “Yes it is, and you would think that would make me stop drinking it but no.”

Just about this time our group was called and we headed for the bus.

Wittenberg was the only place we have visited on this trip that felt touristy. Big buses dropped off people near the entrance, the streets were crowded, and tour groups crowded near one another and strained to hear their guide over the guide of the group next to them. Continue reading…

Reformation Tour—Day 8

Meissen Cathedral

We left Dresden early this morning and arrived in Meissen by 8:00 a.m.

If you know porcelain, you know of Meissen.

And if you know me, you know I wasn’t going on the porcelain excursion.

Nothing against porcelain, but I am on a Luther quest. So, while the other members of GSB team reverted to worldly pursuits like Augustus II to popery, I set off alone into the city of Meissen like Abraham, not knowing where I was going but looking for the city which has foundations whose architect and builder is God.

I was not disappointed.

Using the gothic spires of the Meissen Cathedral as my North Star, I walked up the narrow meandering streets of Old Town until I found myself in front of the imposing structure, that is Meissen Cathedral, whose towers, spires, and roof whispered, “Look up to the heavens.” Continue reading…