Martyn is our Germany correspondent on Day Five on the Luther pilgrimage.
We awoke to the results of the UK election and found we were once again living in exciting times! We left down-town Erfurt which emerged as a Lutheran City with a sunny, relaxed atmosphere.
The day lay open before us as we said Morning Prayer and welcomed Rosemary Nutt from McCabe Pilgrimages for her first day with us on the pilgrimage bus heading for Eisleben. Here we learnt that Luther had been baptised at the bottom of the tower of what was to become the beautiful church of St Peter and St Paul with its modern immersion pool in front of the congregation before the Bible on the altar. Here we all renewed our baptismal promises.
We also visited the site of the house where Luther was born in 1483, which burnt down two centuries later to be rebuilt as a school house and (in 1693) the first public museum devoted to Luther’s remarkable role.
We also had time to see the Church of St Andrew where Martin Luther gave his last sermon before passing away without elaborate rites but many of his family and close friends and supporters around him in 1645.
Our bus then took us the short distance across undulating countryside with occasional slag heaps to remind us of the mining history of the region to the industrial City of Halle with its medieval centre. Here we viewed Luther’s death mask in the vast, tall church called the Market Church with its twin spires.
Before driving on to Leipzig, we had a fascinating visit to a fine museum about the life and work of Handel (who was born in Halle and of course died in London) and listened to his music. We were reminded of what Martin Luther was recorded as stating – ‘The devil is a sad spirit and likes sad people. Therefore he cannot bear merriment. This is the reason why he flees as far as possible from music. He doesn’t stay where people sing.”