It has been a while since I wrote anything remotely useful here. It wasn't for lack of interest, just too many sermons, addresses and writings to do amid a relentlessly unforgiving diary. Add to that conferences and travel and my brain got dimmer than it usually is. Then add to that silly enquiries about who the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be (how should I know – I'm not on the Crown Nominations Commission), and silence might be understandable.

Anyway, I have escaped Blighty for a few days with the Meissen Commission in Eisenach, Germany. We meet once each year as a joint commission, alternately in England and Germany, and three times a year in national committees. I love it – the best, most enjoyable and stimulating ecumenical thingy going.

I have never been to Eisenach before. Johann Sebastian Bach was baptised here in the Georgenkirche (where I will be preaching on Sunday morning before returning to Bradford). Martin Luther preached here. But, more importantly, it was here – in the Wartburg – on the hill that he lobbed a bottle of ink at the devil while holed up for his own protection. He spent from May 1521 until March 1522 there – after he had been taken there for his safety at the request of Frederick the Wise following his excommunication by Pope Leo X and his refusal to recant at the Diet of Worms. It was during this stay that Luther (under the name of Junker Jörg) translated the New Testament into German.

And here it is – as seen from my bedroom window:

Our agenda is concentrating on education, music and keeping up to speed with developments in the Church of England (not a lot going on, really) and the EKD (lots going on…). Taking a long view while physically distant from home is always helpful, so we will make the most of our few days together in this very beautiful place.

I can't see me lobbing bottles of ink at anyone, but they might lob them at me when I preach on Sunday.

More anon.