For today April 6: Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Durer, Artists. Lucas Cranach (1472-1557), a close friend of Martin Luther, was a celebrated painter of portraits and altarpieces and a producer of woodcuts of religious subjects. Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), a native of Nurnberg, Germany, was one of the most learned of Renaissance artists and an ardent admirer of Martin Luther. His paintings and woodcuts include examples of the splendor of creation and skilled portrayals of biblical narratives. Both Cranach and Durer are remembered and honored for the grandeur of their works of art, which depict the glory and majesty and the grace and mercy of the triune God.
For today April 20: Johannes Bugenhagen, Pastor. Johannes Bugenhagen (1485-1558), from Pomerania in northern Germany, was appointed pastor of Wittenberg in 1523 through the efforts of Martin Luther. Thus he served as Luther’s own pastor and confessor. One of the greatest scholars of the Reformation era, Bugenhagen helped translate the New Testament into Low German and wrote a commentary om the Psalms. He also worked to organize the Lutheran Church in northern Germany and Denmark. In 1539, Bugenhagen became superintendent of the Church in Saxony. After the death of Luther, Bugenhagen took care of Luther’s widow and children. Bugenhagen died in Wittenberg in 158.
For today April 21: Anselm of Canterbury, Theologian. Born in Italy in 1033, Anselm is most closely associated with England, where he served as archbishop of Canterbury for many years. A brilliant scholar and writer, Anselm used his political skills with the British kings on behalf of the established Christian Church, affirming that it is the leadership of the Church, not the state, that is responsible for establishing structure and maintaining order among the clergy. Anselm is especially remembered for his classic book, Why God Became Man, which taught that the reason for the incarnation was that Jesus, the Son of God, would suffer and die in place of sinners.
For today for April 24: Johann Walter, Kantor. Johann Walter (1496-1570) began service at the age of twenty-one as a composer and bass singer in the court chapel of Frederick the Wise. In 1524, Walter published a collection of hymns arranged according to the Church Year. It was well received and served as the model for numerous subsequent hymnals. In addition to serving for thirty years as Kantor (church musician) in the German cities of Torgau and Dresdon, he also assisted Martin Luther in the preparation of the Deutsche Messe, or “German Mass” (1526). Walter is remembered as the first Lutheran kantor and composer of church music
For today April 25: St. Mark, Evangelist. St. Mark was the author of the second Gospel, which he composed, according to some Early Church Fathers, when the Christians in Rome asked him to write down the preaching of the apostle Peter. Mark, also known as John Mark, was originally from Jerusalem, where the house of his mother Mary was the center of the early Jerusalem Church (Acts 12:12). He was brought from Jerusalem by Paul and Barnabas to Antioch (Acts 12:25), and it was from this city that they set out on the first missionary journey. When Paul and Barnabas were preparing to go on the second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them again, but Paul objected because Mark had left them during the first journey. Barnabas took Mark and went to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas as his new companion (Acts 15: 37-40). Later, Paul reconciled with Mark and was working with him again (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24; 2 Timothy 4:11). Finally, Mark was found laboring with Peter in Rome (1 Peter 5:13). Tradition says that Mark was instrumental in founding the Church in Alexandria, becoming its first bishop, and also that he suffered a martyr’s death.