Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good Friday, March 7, 1522 Wittenberg, Germany

For the next few weeks I will be preoccupied with many things, but fortunately I have prepared several installments of Luther's Baggage and will use this opportunity to try them out. As always, I encourage you to send me your comments.

Good Friday, March 7, 1522 Wittenberg, Germany (almost one year after Luther disappeared)
Even though it was Good Friday, Heinrich had come into his shop to take care of a few things and tend the fire in the hearth. He was about to leave when he heard a commotion outside; just as he was about to see what it was, the door burst open. Spilling in was a throng of people; Heinrich was trying to make sense of it when, all of a sudden, Luther’s presence made itself known. He walked up to the counter as his coterie crowded alongside. When Luther’s eyes fixed upon Heinrich, their mutual recognition beamed into smiles. Luther held out his hand and when Heinrich’s grasped it, Luther said, “Thank you Heinrich for getting those manuscripts for me; Jan-Harm thought well of your work and so do I.” Stunned and surprised, Heinrich could only say, “My pleasure Martin.” Luther added,“It was a great help to me as I started to translate the Bible into German. Please come to hear me preach at the church on Sunday.” Heinrich eagerly replied, “I’d love to; I’ll be there!”  Luther was making his rounds through town, so he didn’t stay long; as the group left his shop, Heinrich raised his voice, “Welcome back Martin.” Heinrich was excited that Wittenberg’s claim to fame was back. He couldn’t wait to get home and tell his family so he quickly secured the place before heading home.
Wittenberg was alive with activity on this spring afternoon. The news that Luther had returned was making its way through the town and he could tell that there was more activity in the streets. Heinrich took the shortest way home and was glad, as always, to see wisps of smoke coming from the chimney of his home down the street. He knocked on the door rather rhetorically as he let himself in. When he saw his sister, the usual pleasantries were replaced with: “Sarah - Guess who I saw today?”  But Sarah beat his punchline by interjecting: “Martin Luther! - I went into town today and I saw a crowd of people heading up the street. Then someone came by to say it was Luther.” By this time his mother Freyda joined them and smiled, though not with quite as much enthusiasm.  “Luther was in my shop today,” said Heinrich. Heinrich had never told them about his activities retrieving the books. “He said he was preaching Sunday and invited me - everyone - there,” said Heinrich. 
Freyda said, “Wittenberg can use some sanity; it’s been nothing but chaos these last few months! Maybe we can get back to normal.” Each chagrined within themselves as they doubted that would ever happen again. There was a collective sigh as Heinrich acted as the spokesman, “Yes, wouldn’t that be nice.” Freyda retorted, “we’ll talk about that over supper!; let’s get ready to eat.”
As they were eating the meal, Sarah said, “There was a notice at the city square that said Luther was going to preach eight sermons over eight days at the Parish church! They were called Invocavit.” Freyda added, “I’m sure he heard about all the goings on around here in his absence and he wants to set things right.” Heinrich said, “Well it’s Easter week and most folk have the time off. I was beginning to wonder how we’d celebrate Easter since the churches are in disarray. I wonder what he’s going to talk about?” Sarah said, “The poster didn’t say; I guess we’ll have to wait until Sunday,” And so they did, as did most of Wittenberg.  

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