Morning in Wittenberg for Reformation 500

Garet Robinson continues his live correspondence from Wittenberg, where he and his wife are currently visiting in order to take part in the Reformation 500 celebrations. 

Good morning from Wittenberg, Germany. A cool front moved in as the day began. The temperature is about 47 degrees now, with a nip of frost in the air. This has not, however, cooled the spirits of the thousands of guests here, nor deterred the many more expected to arrive in town today. Today is a national holiday in Germany, and this will surely add to the crowds.

Street Performers

The schedule for the day is packed with numerous options for church services, lectures, memorials, and music celebrations. Earlier this morning, we made our way down to the Castle Church for the 10:00 am Festgottesdienste sum Reformationstag services. Just before the service, a few of us were able to step in front of the fabled doors of the church and snap off some Reformation Day pictures. These impressive metal doors have been in place since the 1700s.

Castle Church Doors on Reformation Day

Inside, a Lutheran service of celebration had just begun, singing a beautiful rendition of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” That experience will stay with me for many years, as we entered the church to the sound of hundreds of voices singing to God. A number of Lutheran officials presided, including the Rev Robert Moore of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Rev Margot Kasmann delivered the sermon, which reflected on the tensions of living out the principles of the Reformation in our current day. Afterwards, celebrants were invited to exit the Castle Church through those very doors that bear the 95 Theses of Martin Luther.

Inside the Castle Church

Outside the Castle Church and down the street in the Market Square, the 16th-century themed Reformation Day Fest is still going on. Some open-air performances, concerts, food, and other delights await revellers. This day is set up to be quite an exciting time, and I’m very happy that my wife and I decided to make the trip out here.

A bit more of the crowd in Market Square

Some other events today include lectures by Drs Friedrich Schorlemmer, Johannes Block, Sarah Hilicky-Wilson, and Andrew Wilson. We’ll keep updating the blog with some thoughts, descriptions of the events, and plenty of pictures. Happy Reformation Day!

The program for the Reformation Day Festival

Garet Robinson currently serves as the Adult Pastor at University Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. He has a PhD in Theology from Liberty Divinity School and is doing graduate work in non-profit leadership at Harvard University. His primary research interests are the organizational development of the earliest Christian communities and contemporary theological development. Married to Kathryn since 2005, they have a son named Jack and a beagle named Augustine.

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