Thursday was wild card day so we chose a city of interest between Friday’s Berlin walk-about and Rothenburg. Martin Luther is a famous catalyst for the Protestant reformation and in the year 1517 he posted 95 reasons why indulgences, buying and selling absolution for sins, was contrary to the standard of sola scriptura, or by God’s word alone.
He posted on the door of the Wittenberg castle church 95 arguments including one of my favorites, 86, which gently inquires why something that is freely given by God, forgiveness, should be used as a means to finance through threadbare purses of poor folk, the construction of the basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.
It would be several years before the Pope rebutted Luther but with the aid of the internet of the enlightenment, Gutenberg’s movable type press, the power of interpretation and thought no longer resided with the few, but with anyone literate and filled with faith and a heart willing to seek truth.
I’ve read so much of Martin Luther, and we all agreed that it would be memorable to see the church. I always pictured a country church with a wooden door, but this huge impressive cathedral which is undergoing a $11,000,000 renovation, is no country church.
It’s a church for the wealthy and along with indulgences cast a mockery against scripture, and in particular, Paul’s phrase, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
1 Corinthians 12:13
We walked the old streets of Wittenberg and looked at the castle church and the city church. I’m grateful for people like Martin Luther who are passionate enough to ask questions in civil ways, with respect, with courage, in love. In 1517, the academic way was to post to the Facebook of its time, the very public seen by most everyone church door inviting intelligent discourse, dialogue, public conversation. We all have our Wittenberg door, a public place to nail our thoughts to a door for all to see and to agree or disagree.
Thanks Martin Luther, for reminding us of grace and salvation, and that we are strangers in a strange land longing for our home with not one coin to pay our fare, poor in spirit, yet feasting at the table of the castle king.