Eisleben - Luther's birth place and where he died, but where he never lived. Well, almost! His family was living here when he was born, but moved very soon after his birth. The fact that he died here can be chalked up to his reputation, as he was in town to settle a dispute between the Mansfield Counts. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack and did not make it back home to his dear Kate. Two of his sons were with him and an entourage of other important folks were there to record all the final details. We visited three churches while in town.
The community of faith at Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church have done a remarkable thing! Because much of the historical quality of the building was destroyed during the time of the divided Germany, they boldly designed a sanctuary, and in particular a baptismal font, that vividly declares Luther's theology of the ministry of the baptized. The baptistry is set into the floor with ripples emanating from it, throughout the sanctuary, up into the windows, even out the door! It is marvelous!
My photograph simply does not do it justice. The effect is incredible.
Another wonderful piece from the sanctuary is the sculpture
of God the Father uphold Jesus while he is on the cross. Again, the photo is not nearly as powerful as the sculpture is in person.
As we visited the third church today, we were asked to remember what stories have shaped us - ourselves, our families, our congregations and communities. When we arrived at Saint Anne's, the reason for the question became clear. It is a marvelous and ancient building that was originally the church for a convent. Martin Luther dedicated it, if I remember correctly. The miners of the area were not literate, of course, and the church contains the Old Testament in stone around the chancel so that these folks could be reminded of their Bible stories. Click on the slide show below to see the stories...