This morning we left our beautiful hotel in Eisenach and traveled to Erfurt. Our first stop was the Augustinian Monastery and Church. Martin Luther entered the monastery in 1505 and took his vows in 1506. He was committed to growing as a Christian and worked hard to be the most serious, dedicated Christian – but he despaired over his continued lack of faith. It would be the beginning of his struggles that helped him to realize that salvation did not come from the things we do, but by the grace of God alone.
We attended the morning worship service where Dr. Bob Long was asked to read scripture in the service. At the end of the time of worship we were invited to join with them in celebrating Holy Communion. It was very moving to recite the Apostles Creed and the Lord’s Prayer in English and hear our voices united with their German words. To take Holy Communion in the place where Martin Luther had given his vows as a monk was a very powerful experience.
After lunch we went to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp. It was a haunting place that showed us a little of the cruelty of the Holocaust. We were reminded that it is our responsibility to stand up against injustice and hatred wherever we encounter it. The words, “Jedem das Seine” (“to each his own”) were on the gate of the camp facing in. We must ensure that what each person receives is the grace of God and nothing less.
Tomorrow – we will travel to see Halle, Germany and then come back to Leipzig to visit St. Thomas Church and the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall). – Wendy Lambert