Today was a very, very special day. You see, today we went to Wittenberg. I have long dreamed of visiting here and recall even as a young child wondering what it looked like and wanting to be in the very places that Luther was. We got our tickets, got breakfast at Crobag, and I could hardly contain my excitement as we boarded the train. It was almost a 2 hour journey from where we were staying, but so very worth it. As we walked into town, I was nearly bursting with excitement and my heart was just pounding. The center of town looks quite modern, with new buildings obviously not from Luther's time. After a quick stop in the visitor center, we headed to the Castle Church. We saw the very place where Luther hung the 95 thesis. I can't even describe what it felt like to stand there. To sit there and be so close to history, so close to where this happened was incredible. I took some video, but unfortunately this computer won't let me post it, so for now pictures will have to suffice.
It felt rather surreal to walk around where Luther himself walked. My mind went wild imagining what it must have been like and how God worked through Luther in so many ways to get the Gospel out to people and deliver the wonderful message of grace. I wish so badly to just see how it all was, but to have this little peek into the past was truly a wonderful gift. After marveling at the outside, we went inside. WOW WOW WOW. It was more beautiful than I imagined and bigger than I had pictured it to be.
I could just see Luther as a monk running around this place. I would love to be able to sit down and talk to Luther in real life. We spent quite a bit of time in the church, slowing walking around and trying to soak it all in. I was quite overwhelmed by the whole experience. Once up at the front, we saw Luther's grave. I got chills. Literally. I realize there beneath the church floor is only the remains of Luther since his soul is in heaven, but it was a very powerful moment for me and I felt so unbelievably connected and in tune to my Lutheran heritage that words can not even begin to describe it.
After this delicious treat, we climbed the tower in Castle church and it was AMAZING. VERY high but pretty sweet. I just love old churches. For serious. Then we heard an organ recital. Yes, you heard me correctly I heard an organ recital in Luther's church. It was a organ of course was not around during his time, but it was pretty sweet to sit there listening to organ music while taking in this beautiful church and just having time to digest things. I think God wanted me to hear the organ there... because they only have recitals on Tuesdays, and we just happened to pick Tuesday as the Wittenberg day. We did not know prior to coming about the organ recital bit. Further, for the mere price of 2 euros, you could get a tour of the organ after. I did this, of course. The organist spoke first to the German group, then to the English group. The English group from Wheaton college had a million questions.... most of which were silly and made me embarrassed. The organist had inquired where I was from, and when I said Notre Dame, he of course knew Craig. When the Americans FINALLY stopped asking questions, he pulled the stops loud and played A Mighty Fortress. I did a little squeal of happy. Then he hopped off the bench and said to me "Would you like to play something?" I thought he would never ask! I had not arranged to play here, but had brought my organ shoes and music, hoping for a miracle. It wasn't Luther's organ, but to play in the Castle Church was an amazing opportunity and I eagerly accepted the invitation. I hopped on the bench and busted out my Buxtehude book and played. I was in heaven, and I mean HEAVEN. It wasn't a Schnitger organ, but it was Luther's church so it ran a close 2nd. I was on cloud 9 million the whole way home. It was a mountain top experience in so many ways.
When we got back to Magdeburg we all (Heidi, Manfred and I) took a walk along the river to a nice little restaurant and enjoyed dinner together. Tomorrows agenda: organs!