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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Germany Day 2

Tuesday May 12, 2015 Day 2

We rose early--slept so good!  Nick made eggs and we ate some croissants with them.

We drove to Luebbecke, where my family is from.  We found the church where my great-grandfather was probably baptized.  The birds were nesting in the clock tower and flying all around.  I walked around the outside of the building, looking at the old wooden doors, stained glass windows, and other art.

The first door I tried was unlocked.  I entered through a small wooden door, down worn stone steps, into a dark entry area.  There was a small font directly in the center and some banner stands and other metal equipment was being stored against the walls.

I walked into the main sanctuary.  It was still decorated for the Confirmation celebration held there the previous Sunday, as I read in the bulletin.  All around the walls were works of art, carvings and paintings.  I tried to imagine my family worshiping there.  Where did they sit?  What songs did they like?  How early did they embrace the Reformation?  I felt very connected.

Someone came in the church through the door I had left open for Nick to join me.  I think it was the janitor.  The door was not supposed to have been unlocked.  I introduced myself in German and told him my grandfather had been baptized there.   I asked if it was ok if I took pictures.  He said yes, but he seemed annoyed.  We were there over an hour taking pictures and sitting in the different pews.  I went up to the choir/organ loft, looked at all the colorful woodwork, and paged through the hymnal.  Even if this wasn't the church my grandfather was baptized, it was a very interesting place to visit.

Afterward we walked down through the town and looked around.

We drove back to Hannover and found a place to eat lunch, then walked around.  We found the Frank Ghery building.

Seeing several church spires nearby, we chose one at random and walked there.  It is called Kreuzchurch.  It was Lutheran!  I went in.  It was much more modern inside than the one in Luebbecke.  A group was talking and I waited for them to finish up.  One of the women approached me as the others were leaving.

I introduced myself and explained that I was a Lutheran pastor on Sabbatical.  It turns out that she is the church historian.  Her husband is a pastor.  They served a church in the US and their son is stationed in the military in the US.  She had to be on her way, but first she showed us the altar tryptich, painted by Lucas Cranach in 1537.  It originally was painted for a Roman Catholic congregation.  She pulled out her flashlight and shined it on a small boy on the far edge of the painting, pointing at Christ on the cross.  The boy had the face of Martin Luther.  The painter had, subversively, painted Martin Luther into a Roman Catholic altar piece!

I was beyond excited!  I never imagined just stumbling across a great work of art like this.  And then to have the church historian there to tell us a little bit about it!  It was thrilling! 

On our way to look for dinner, we stumbled across the ruins of a church, called Aegidienkirche, that was destroyed in WWII.  Its ruin is now a memorial to the victims of war and violence.  

We went out for actual Greek food, which was so delicious, then went to the Rathaus all lit up at night, to take some pictures. 

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