Thomas has been having some fun with a little blog series he’s been calling “What should we get Pastor Dennis?” At each gift shop things just seem to remind us of Pastor Dennis.  Here’s his latest gift idea for Pastor Dennis.  Here are some earlier ones.  My favorite is still that yodeling marmot.

A recurring blog theme for me this past month here has been to show a few cool clocks and time measurement systems I’m finding here in the epicenter of the world of horology (Switzerland). Links also here and here and here.

In that vein I share some of my latest finds. First, the pulpit hourglass– sorry the pic is so bad, one of the kids stood in the way of the security camera so I could take a quick pic (we always seem to be sneaking around the no-foto Gestapo here.)

Pulpit Hourglass

This “pulpit hourglass” can be seen in the Luther House in Wittenberg. Some of you are thinking that I perhaps need one of these as each weekend back home I seem to fully ignore the present clock we have hanging in the CATG worship center.

During the main Reformation controversies and debates this type of pulpit hourglass stood next to the lecturn and Luther was alloted a certain amount of time to present his views and his Catholic opponents were given equal time.

One of my Luther museum guidebooks says “it is also known that Luther  possessed a number of timepieces.” In 1532 he wrote… “The invention of the clock is a truly remarkable thing because it can measure time so accurately as one cannot express with words. It is certainly one of the most important human inventions.”  Sounds to me like he likes clocks too!!  Here is one of Luther’s table clocks (it stands about 15 inches high). I really like the little brass guy with the big hammer ready to sound the bell!

Luther table clock

Here’s a common sight – this is a sun dial outside the town church in Wittenberg. I thought we had, but I guess we don’t, a picture of another one that had a Latin inscription around it that describes the irony of the sun dial; “First the shade shows the light.” That’ll preach!! (It was an overcast day so no shadow is visible on this one.)

Wittenberg sun dail 1

Here’s another one that is on the outside of the church in Basel where Erasmus is buried. You can see the shadow and the light and the dial clock below it confirms the sun dail reading of two o’clock. (The brown square border and the ten lines to each number are paint.)

Basel church sun dail

What I can’t take a very good picture of is the sound of church bell towers that chime on the hour IN EVERY EUROPEAN TOWN. I often think when I hear them that God intended for his people on earth to be his metronome in every metropolis. Sad that the church is so often behind the times.  Here’s a pic from inside a church clock tower we climbed in Innsbruck Austria – this is some of the mechanism behind the faces of the enormous town clocks. The rod extends to the center where it enters a gear box. So, four rods extend from this center gear box and go forth from there to each of the four faces of the clock tower.

clock mechanism

One more pic. This is from a chapel in St. Pierre’s Church in Geneva (Calvin’s Church). Note the Latin phrase on the wall – Post Tenebrae Lux.  It means “after darkness, light.” That little phrase became the slogan of the Protestant Reformation. After centuries in the dark ages, God’s timing shifted and the light of the gospel came forth again. I discern a greater shift in our day in terms of God’s times and seasons.

Post Tenebrae Lux