“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31
Dear Redeemer Family:
We are officially in Summer. Although I think that the heat and humidity arrived a couple of weeks early. It is a time when many of us decide that it is time to go on vacation, to kick back and enjoy life a bit differently. There is nothing wrong with that. From the text above, you can see that even Jesus took the apostles off on a vacation to refresh themselves. Leisure is not a bad thing at all. Ironically, Jesus took them to a place called by the locals as “The Gates of Hades.” Seems like an interesting place to choose to vacation.
Often we go off and visit friends and relatives. It is a time to renew our relationships and reforge old bonds. It can be refreshing and recreating.
This year, partially in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation, we went to Europe. It was a very good, and at the same time, very tiring vacation. But, as one of our tour guides put it, “Many of us were there to scratch things off of our bucket list.” Indeed, she even showed us the movie, “The Bucket List,” on the bus’ video. It was also partially true.
We got to stand in front of the doors at Castle Church in Wittenberg where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, and kicked off the Reformation. Inside the church, while trying to take a picture of Luther’s pulpit, I knocked at a stone with my foot. I looked down and read the words, “Here Lie the Mortal Remains of Martin Luther.” I was standing at his grave. I didn’t know that he was buried in that church. Across the way, I saw the grave of Luther’s best friend, and fellow reformer, Phillip Melanchthon, also buried at the front of the church. Later that day, we toured both of their houses. And in honor of the 500th, there was a special exhibition on Luther. In it, I saw Luther’s robe that he wore as a monk. It was a stunning day, and a very fulfilling one.
Days later, we were walking through downtown Hamburg, where I took a picture of a McDonald’s – you know, hamburgers in Hamburg. We walked in St. James Church, which has been Lutheran since 1520. They have a magnificent pipe organ. It is simply beautiful. Later, we learned that the pipe organ is world famous. And, that it used to be played by a guy named Johann Sebastian Bach. That was also awe inspiring.
There are many other things that we did on vacation. I will tell you about them later. And don’t worry, I took lots of pictures. May your vacations be just as re-creating.