There’s only a few days left on our 12-day trip to Germany to visit with family. It’s been very enjoyable, especially the time we’ve been able to spend with our grandson. We’re so grateful to the Lord to be able to be with him.
This was our third visit to Germany and each time my wife and I have taken a side trip somewhere by ourselves to break things up. This time we visited Konstanz, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland. My wife’s grandfather was from Zurich and she had always wanted to visit there. I knew that the Swiss Reformer, Huldrych Zwingli, had been based in Zurich and that also sparked my interest. While researching our 5-hour jaunt to Zurich, I discovered the early Reformer, Jan Hus, had been martyred in Konstanz, a city on our route. The house Hus had lived in was now a museum, so we decided to visit there also.
We rented a car Tuesday morning and started off to Konstanz, a trip of 4 hours. When we arrived there we discovered parking was impossible, just like all European cities. We drove around looking for a hotel but found nothing suitable; no big hotel chains in this small city. But we drove by the famous Konzil building on the lake shore (first photo) where the Catholic church’s Council of Constance (1414-1418) had convened. The council condemned Hus to be burned at the stake for heresy and also elected a new pope because no one could figure out which of the three popes claiming the office was legitimate. The house where Hus lived during the trial was located in the old town, pedestrians-only section of the city and could not be seen from the road. With all the hassles of trying to find a hotel, we decided to push on to Zurich and stop again in Konstanz on our return.
We arrived in Zurich an hour later and relaxed for the rest of the evening. On Wednesday morning we were up bright and early and took a commuter train to the old town section. Our seven-hour walk took us through the winding, very narrow streets of the old town. The highlight for me was visiting the Grossmunster (“cathedral” – second photo) where Zwingli preached. While reading Erasmus’s New Testament translation, the Holy Spirit moved Zwingli, like his more well-known contemporary, Martin Luther, to pursue several reforms to return the church to the simple yet awesome Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk through the old city section and returned to the hotel happily exhausted.
Thursday morning we began our trip back. We stopped at Konstanz once again but we decided the hassle of trying to find a parking spot and the long walk to the old town was not worth it for just a quick photo of the Hus house (third photo). I would have happily made the sacrifice had I been traveling alone but, unfortunately, my wife does not share my enthusiasm for history.
I am so grateful to the Lord for raising up Reformers like Zwingli and Hus. Defying Rome usually meant certain death in those days. If you haven’t read about Zwingli and Hus, I would encourage you to do so. Succeeding Reformers would move the church even farther away from vestiges of Roman legalism and ritualism but these brave men took the first very dangerous steps. Although Rome has not changed any of its doctrines, some contemporary evangelical leaders are lining up to betray the Gospel and embrace Catholicism, as if the Reformation had never occurred. Many evangelicals would rather indulge in spiritual cotton candy rather than bother with any of the nitty gritty history of the Reformation.