Sunday, March 29, 2009

Global Consultation in Augsburg

Two thousand years ago Augsburg was founded by the Romans. Ten years ago Augsburg was the site of the "Joint Declaration on Justification" between Lutherans and Roman Catholics. The events of the 16th century, however, make it most well-known among Lutherans and all Protestants worldwide.

Mr. Hermann Weber, mayor of Augsburg, greeted over 100 theologians from over 30 countries at the Rathaus (Town Hall) on the first evening of the March 25-31 Lutheran World Federation Global Consultation on "Theology in the Life of Lutheran Churches: Transformative Perspectives and Practices Today."

At the Rathau, which has been restored since the World War II bombings, we heard the mayor highlight the important dates:

1518 The momentous meeting between Luther and the papal legate at which Luther was told to renounce his teachings.

1530 The Imperial Diet meeting at which the Lutheran estates issued their fundamental statement of faith, the Augsburg Confession.

1537 The adoption of the first Protestant church order where separation of church and state was instituted.

1555 The Diet proclamation of the Peace of Augsburg, giving Lutherans and Roman Catholics a side-by-side relationship. For many years each public office in Augsburg was held by two people, one a Roman Catholic and one a Lutheran.

We could see evidence of this side-by-side relationship in the physical proximity of churches. We are staying at Haus St. Ulrich's. The Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches on this site are physically connected.

On Sunday we walked through the old town and saw the courtyard from which the people could hear the Augsburg Confession read for the first time, in the language of the people, so that all could understand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This entry makes me think about PLACE. I'm guessing that's what it is supposed to do - but thinking about place leads me back to the incarnation and the movement of the Spirit. Christianity is never removed from specific people, specific places. Even our salvation is based upon on specific person - Jesus Christ: fully God and fully human - dying on a cross to defeat death. As we stand in those places where history has been made in big ways (or in little ways) we remember not only that history changed, but also that God acted - that God, in all the specific Places of our lives, still acts. We give thanks to our God, our God who gives us a river crossing, a manger, a cross, the Rathau, and our daily bread - all the places that remind us how God is with us in our Place, no matter where or how that is.