Martin has a pack in front of him and looks undecided. Katharina, his wife, brings him a few items to pack: some socks and a little barrel.
Katharina: Why are you just standing there idly, my dear husband? Come on, you have to pack! Soon the horse and cart will be here, and you have to be ready. They are waiting for you in Leipzig to share your wisdom and the gospel, my learned and famous Doctor Luther!
Martin puts some socks into the pack without enthusiasm. He looks at the barrel with longing.
Martin: Ah, your good beer, dear Katie! All too soon it will be consumed, and then I have to do with inferior brews. (Sighs.)
Katharina: What’s wrong, Martin? Are you ill?
Martin (sighs): I already suffer from homesickness.
Katharina: And you haven’t even set one foot in front of the door! (Shakes her head and wants to leave, but Martin grabs her by the arm.)
Martin: Say, Katie, won’t you miss me at all?
Katharina (playfully): Well, there will be one mouth fewer to be fed – and it is the biggest of all.
Martin looks hurt. Katharina relents.
Katharina: You know how much I miss you when you have to travel. Even though there is always so much going on in this house that keeps me busy, there’s something missing when you are not here. But I guess this is the price I have to pay as Mrs. Luther.
Martin: Katie, Katie, if someone had told me before we got married that I would grow so close to you, I would have laughed at them. After all, I always was a lone wolf. But the longer the live with you, the more I find that I cannot do anything apart from you. You, the children – that’s my life now.
Katharina: Doctor Martin, do not blaspheme against the Lord! Have you not written just a few years ago, ‘Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child and spouse, though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day. The kingdom’s ours forever!’ Isn’t Christ your life? Shouldn’t you cling to him more than you cling to me?
Martin: Ah, Mrs. Doctor, just preach! Of course Christ is the vine, and I am a branch – but I am only one of many branches! Through good and divine provenance our two branches grew together and are tangled so that they cannot be separated. Yes, it is Christ who makes us grow and holds us, and apart from him, we can do nothing. But he sends people into our lives who support us, just like branches support each other. And you, Katie, have become my most important branch.
Katharina: And what about our children? And what about your faithful friends, who have walked with you through thick and thin?
Martin: Katie, of course I know that nobody walks through life alone – God provides many companions who walk alongside us. Isn’t this a beautiful image, that we all are branches connected to that one vine? God knows that one single branch carrying fruit would be too heavy and sink to the ground, where the fruit would rot. God gives us community, so that we take from each other and give to each other. And the strong ones can give a lot, and the weak ones are supported by the strong. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, and it is right and salutary.
Katharina (snuggles up to Martin): And I thank the dear Lord that He intertwined your branch and mine. (Listens and breaks free.) I hear the cart coming. Oh, I will wait every minute for your return with longing! After all, nothing can really separate us, since we both cling to the same vine. But now, my dearest, you have to hurry! Do you have your socks?
Martin: Yes, Mister Katie!
Katharina: The beer?
Martin: How could I forget your beer?
Katharina (Stops in her tracks for a moment): Martin, I just have a strange thought: Do you think that, let’s say, 500 years from now people will remember that they are created for the glory of God and in service to each other? That they are all branches connected to the one vine, called to support each other?
Martin: Ah, Katharina, who knows what the future will bring. But let us pray that the world will not sink into egotism and people will stare at their own navels only – or stare at something else, so as they are prevented to look into their neighbors’ eyes.
Katharina: Well said, Now, come, say farewell to the children. May God bless your journeys!
Martin: Amen! (Martin grabs the pack. Hand in hand the two leave the ‚stage‘.)
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