After a quick breakfast at Hotel Stachus (my home away from home) in Munich, I run through the rain for a Venti Nonfat Latte Extra Hot from Starbucks in the train station. God is good. All the time. Off we go. We decide to punt on Bamberg because of the deluge. It is raining cats and dogs--or should I say Newfoundland puppies. I try to readjust my disappointment with the weather and trust God to open up new possibilities for us. It’s time to move beyond reading Philippians 4:8-9 and start living it (Whatever is good... excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.) and so we shall.
Basically we were confined to a 12 by 30 foot box for 9 hours but we had fun. This is one of the most creative, fun, and mildly demented group I have ever had. You could put this group in a cardboard box for 9 hours and they would find a way to laugh themselves out of it. Captain Nemo played his guitar and sang songs to us as he and his sidekick (the other David) spontaneously came up with the words as they sang; the Strahm Sisters provided acoustical support by offering an accompanying laughter soundtrack; and somehow Formolo got himself locked in the bus bathroom. Strangely, no one came to the rescue. I suspect they had something to do with the problem plaguing the door.
[Parenthetical Note: During our Bible Study in Wittenberg, we read about James and John, the “Sons of Thunder”--suddenly we collectively began to make a connection. James and John must somehow be related to the Strahm Sisters. We have since nicknamed the Strahms the “Sisters of Thunder”--they have the uncanny ability to reach decibel levels as yet unattained in the annuls of vocal and acoustical history. NOBODY can laugh like them. If you are around the Kendra and Kayla and you don’t laugh you better check you joy hard drive. You got to love them!]
[Note 2: Kyndal can now taste food. She got a little sick and her taste buds went awol on her a day or so ago. Can you imagine being in Italy and Germany without taste? I would have gone postal but she kept quite cool. Today I saw her consuming chocolate, donner kabobs, asian food, ice cream, more chocolate..I think she’s ok now.]
We ate dinner at the Potato House. Every dish is potato-based but the accoutrements which adorn the simple potato are varied, creative, international, and cheap. The cheap part is starting to sound good after all the money we’ve spent in Italy. It’s hard to go cheap in Italy. In Germany is definitely doable. I had home-fried potatoes laced with green, yellow, and red peppers smouthered with sauteed mushrooms and onions, topped with two eggs sunny side up, and finally crowned with strips of succulent bacon. A few of the students offered to carry me to my room across town after we indulged in mountainous ice cream sundaes--the size of which were only dwarfed by the Alps themselves. Have I told you before, I love these kids?
The next morning we met at the famous door the Castle Church were Luther nailed his 95 Theses for academics to ponder. It’s consequence was monumental and seismic. I led the students inside the gothic glory of the interior carved in marble and limestone. We stood speechless at the grave plaque below which Luther was buried and above which his grand pulpit loomed large. My bodies muscle memory recounted the twitching nerves I felt not many years before when I preached here on Reformation week for international pilgrims who didn’t speak German but whose second language was English. As we left the Castle Church, we went outside on the lawn and sat in a circle. We continued our journey through Mark’s Gospel together. The students are beginning to sense the radicality of this Jesus and those who would choose to follow him as ordinary radicals themselves. We read. We discussed. We prayed (not I prayed, WE PRAYED...it was beautiful and powerful). The Spirit moved among us. God is good.
Next we went to the Town Market to grab some fresh veggies and fruit. Next stop City Hall followed by the St. Mary’s City Church where Luther was married, had his children baptized, and preached on most Sundays. Last but not least, I led them to the worlds greatest Luther/Protestant museum. This is where Luther lived as a monk when he first began as a Professor of Bible at Fredrick the Wise’s new University--the jewel of Saxony. It was actually Luther who put it on the international map. This monastery was eventually given to Luther and his new wife, Katerina--children to follow. The rest of the day would be spent shopping, walking, shopping, jogging, shopping, ping pong, and eating ice cream. One side trip led Marcel, me, and one of the Sister’s of Thunder to the police station to file a missing passport report. No arrests were made.
I hope to keep you posted shortly. I’m just not sure if I’ll have internet access in Eisenach or Cologne. I’ll post as soon as possible. Did I tell you how awesome these young Christ-followers are?
Wittenberg City Hall on the left with the Twin Steeples of the City Church in the background on the right.
The boys room at the Youth Hostel in Wittenberg. Or is it the girls room?
Italian gelato in Wittenberg--go figure. Happy, Happy.
Did you notice how Mark keeps showing up in the gelato pictures?
Formolo stuck in the bathroom on the bus. Why does he look so happy?