The Petri Boys and a note on Apostolic Succession

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Celebrated on the Lutheran calendar today are the brothers Olavus and Laurentius Petri who led the Reformation in Sweden.  After attending the University of Wittenberg, where Luther taught, they returned to Sweden and spread the Evangelical message.   They also worked on a Swedish translation of the Bible and the worship services.  They purposely spread Luther’s teachings among the clergy in educating for the Reformation.  In fact, the Lutherans in Sweden kept the concept of Apostolic Succession by recruiting the bishops into the Evangelical movement.

Side note: apparently many Lutheran pastors in the USA can claim Apostolic Succession due to the former Augustana Lutheran Church’s Swedish roots, including the chain of Swedish bishops sending pastors to the US.  So, at my ordination almost 35 years ago, a participant took me aside and let me know I was in that chain as he had hands laid on him by one of these Augustana/Swedish pastors.  And so in March, I let our former Vicar, Katharina Behrens, know that when she was ordained a pastor in the German church, she had that same Swedish Apostolic Succession touch as I participated in her service!

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

According to a brochure that I picked up at the Post Office on Monday, this week commemorates “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” under the theme “Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope.”  Jesus knew the victim’s experience.  Think of the words from the Good Friday cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”  Before we go too quickly to Easter promises, we can remember that our God also knows the pain of the victim and reaches out to provide release.  The situation is complex but we followers of Jesus can indeed recognize the centuries long call to the faithful exactly to serve victims, build trust, and restore hope.

Monday into the country

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

After Monday’s class we headed out away from Wittenberg to visit a rural parish, Seyda. Such friendly people, so welcoming. It reminded me of my own early pastoral service at congregations in South Texas — can you say Nordheim, Runge, Westhoff, Lindenau? This church was actually in existence in the time of Martin Luther, and was one visited prior to the introduction of the Small Catechism.

Even inside furnishings were so antique and yet so full of Gospel proclamation.

Sunday Go to Meeting then Go to Torgau

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

On Sunday, I worshiped for the second time in the main town church, where Luther preached most often in his lifetime. And what an amazing altar to view and receive communion before.

Then after lunch we headed for Torgau, assisting a local church in copying the whole Bible a sentence a person for 2013. The old castle stands firm, and here is where Luther’s wife, Katie died. The women in our group gathered around her ancient grave marker.

Weekend to Wartburg and elsewhere

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

For the weekend, we took a break from classes and Wittenberg to explore other Luther sites.
So, it was off to the Wartburg Castle. On the way we stopped for a real German meal.

The Chilean told me I was not really trying!

Now we had the energy to climb up to the Wartburg!

Great display of artifacts.

Slippery going down hill as the ice began forming again, but I purchased some beautiful hand-painted eggs, depicting the castle and Luther’s seal.

Luther in the Library

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Wittenberg is undergoing renewal in preparation for the culmination of celebrations. And I hope more follow. In the midst of that, changes are occurring. the university has moved to nearby Halle, while the pastor’s seminary will stay in Wartburg. The prized library is in transition but apparently will be relocated to the Castle Church at the edge of the old city of Wittenberg. In the meantime, we got to visit and view some of their rare books.

I particularly enjoyed seeing books that Martin Luther used, loaned, or took marginal notes on the pages.

Just a sampling

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Classes, yes

Exchanging our stories and listening to the experiences of others.

We even rotated responsibility of meals by preparing one from our own cultures, enjoying Lutheran flavors from around the world. I decided to offer Tex-Mex fare! No pictures of that as I was hustling to feed twenty. And who knew that actually had avocados in Germany?

Start in a Luther Chapel

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Right off the bat, I was informed that I volunteered for the first worship service to be led by participants.
Here I am in the small, VERY cold chapel where Luther frequently preached, preparing for my service. Although held in Germany the primary language for worship and the classes was English because of the international nature of the group — Europeans, Asians, Africans, Americans (North and South).