Monday, July 05, 2010



While in Switzerland, we took a break from visiting relatives to enjoy a day and a drive to Wildhaus, to see Zwingli's birthplace and home. It was well worth a visit. It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time and we finally had a free day to do the easy drive. The house is original as are the floors and ceiling and most of it. The windows were replaced over time and I believe the study desk is from the 1700-1800's.
I had heard the name of Zwingli since I was knee-high to a grasshopper! Since he was the Reformer from Zurich, he was closer than Calvin in Geneva to my family's hometown. Ulrich Zwingli, was Luther's contemporary and even though they met, they never could agree on the theology of the Lord's Supper. I often think that Zwingli was overshadowed by Luther, and then by Calvin. But Zwingli was never excommunicated by the Pope and actually was given quite a bit of latitude by the church and government powers that were. And even though, he said, "Let them eat sausage", on Good Friday, he, himself did not partake. He knew that what goes into our mouths was not as important as to what comes out of our mouths!
Zwingli was a bit extreme in throwing out organs from churches, as well as statues, icons, and colored stained glass windows, preferring the simplicity of the round coke-bottle bottom windows, and keeping one's focus on the word of God, which he translated into German called the Zwingli Bible. We were able to look at a Zwingli Bible from 1565 which although no longer hand scribed was printed on a Gutenberg press. It was a holy thing, to view a Bible he translated and which was used in the years following his death and the Reformation. I have the modern version which is considerably smaller and easier to carry around!!!!
To think that I walked the warped, worn wood plank floors and steps that he did as a child was a most wondrous and awe-inspiring thing. I felt the same way when I stood at the door of the Grossmuenster in Zurich. However, knowing the floor and steps were original made it even more awesome.
It is a small house with low ceilings, the better to keep the heat in, and it was somewhat dark. The roof had stones on it, which is typical for the area and times. 500 + years after he lived, I, a Presbyterian pastor of Swiss ancestory, was able to visit his birthplace and know from where my roots and to feel a connection that spans the centuries.
I'll post a few more pictures.
If you ever have a chance - go and see it. It lies in the beautiful Toggenburg region of Switzerland. And although, it was overcast when we were there, perhaps, you'll have better weather and see the Eastern mountains, and enjoy the music of cowbells clanging as the cows graze on the alps in the summertime. Could there ever be lovelier music to one's ears as that which the cows compose new each day?
The Toggenburg region is also home to Simon Ammann, the Gold medalist in Olympic Ski Jumping.
Be sure and head to the Saantis and enjoy the mountain and views. Gondolas are running in the summer and it is a wonderful alpine hiking area. In the winter, Wildhaus has a Ski and Snowboard School.
Enjoy the other pictures from Zwingli's birth house!
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