Friday, July 10, 2009

Calvin's influence on Heidelberg Catechism

Rain fell heavily as we entered the great stone archways into the inner precincts of Heidelberg Castle. Here Christian Elector Frederic III commissioned Zacharius Ursinus and Casper Olevianus, students of John Calvin’s, to craft a Reformed catechism, a statement of Christian belief that would combine the most biblical elements of Lutheran and Calvinist/Reformed theology. No doubt these two young men, both remarkably only in their twenties, labored for about a year in rooms in this castle. “What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood…” The catechism was presented and approved here by the Synod of Heidelberg in 1563, one year before Calvin’s death. (The close-up above is for Kim St. John who thinks I need more people shots on this blog).

Back in Strasbourg we gathered, amidst heavy rain showers and thunder, at the excellent Alsacian restaurant, Zeum Strissel, near the Hotel Gutenberg. What a feast! And so scrumptuously presented by witty attendants who enjoyed (far too much) correcting my French and showing off their English skills. All in great fun and in a richly old-world setting in the shadow of the cathedral. Menu: quiche Lorraine, salad, Ham hock, saurkraut, potatoes, du l’eau, avec gas, local reisling and pinot noir, tarte de pomme, and coffee. I waddled out of the place, feeling like I would need to do considerably more sit-ups and pushups than I felt capable of doing before bedtime—maybe ever, after all this food!

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