Thursday, April 9, 2009
Jakobsplatz in Augsburg, Germany
In April, 2009 I attended a conference sponsored by the Lutheran World Federation on "Bible, Theology, and the Life of the Church." As one of the planners, we looked forward to hosting an international gathering of Lutheran scholars and practitioners in a city where Luther had been summoned to meet with leaders from Rome and the Holy Roman Empire. The conference was rich fare indeed, and to digest it all I often walked the old city during breaks. During one of those walks, a friend and I stumbled upon the Jakobsplatz, literally, "St. James Place," a large plaza with a big fountain in the center. Medieval pilgrims traveling from Germany to Santiago de Compostela in Spain would refresh themselves here. They would "outfit" themselves for the journey ahead.
I thought of the preparations that Lisa and I had made for Kilimanjaro. I tried to imagine the plaza surrounded by all the outdoor shops we'd frequented in Berkeley: REI, Any Mountain, Wilderness Exchange, and of course, Peet's Coffee, as we got our gear together.
Finding the plaza was an unexpected grace -- and blessing for the journey ahead.