This morning was beautiful. There were lots of birds chirping and the stillness of the morning was often interrupted by the call of church bells in various spots in the city. I will never tire of hearing those church bells and wish more churches in America had real bells and not just electronic ones (or nothing at all). It was quite lovely to get ready and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before church.
We attended church at the Castle Church in Wittenberg. While I have always wanted to go to church where Luther was, it is a state church and therefore somewhat of a hodge podge of theology and liturgy. It didn't help matters that the church is all scaffolding and plywood right now. The service was similar to other non-SELK churches I've attended..... A sermon preached on a random Bible story rather than the Gospel, a whole mix of music that didn't necessarily support the readings, taking the children out of church mid way through the service (this just makes me sad!) and communion with a varied group of helpers and with grape juice instead of wine (or so we were told before hand. I don't know for sure if this was the case since I didn't go.) Needless to say, I felt like more of an observer than a participant. It did remind me of how blessed I am to be at Redeemer where we have a pastor who preaches clear law/gospel on the appointed texts of the day and where we follow the liturgy and celebrate the Eucharist every week. The fact that I missed being at Redeemer confirmed for me that Redeemer is so much more than just a job for me.
After church, we had some free time the went to Berlin for a very fast tour. I didnt feel too upset since I have been here before. My favorite part was going through the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe. I cannot even describe how vast this memorial is. The picture below really doesn't do it justice. It is deep and powerful to walk through this. It's quite sobering to go through and hard to wrap ones mind around how many people were killed. You get swallowed up by the memorial and feel alone and its so cold and somewhat disorienting to be inside it even though it is laid out in rows. I left wondering how humanity gets to that point. Is sick, really. Hopefully memorials like this serve as powerful reminders so we don't ever make the same mistakes again.
Once back in Wittenberg we enjoyed a great meal together and even got to eat outside, which I prefer over eating inside. After dinner we did a quick walking tour of Wittenberg and saw the spot where Marty burned up the papal bull. Sweet!
I have been here many times and an still finding new things. We walked around the city until sometime after 10:00PM.