|Peter Ustinov as Frederick the Wise|
I re-watched Luther last night, the 2003 movie about Martin Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes. Peter Ustinov plays Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, employer and protector of Martin Luther. He's a political figure but also seems to have a spiritual side. He has an enormous collection of relics, of which he's quite proud, but--in the movie anyway--they became less precious to him as he reads Luther's writings.
In a later scene, Luther approaches Frederick with his recently completed translation of the Scriptures into German. (Up to this time, all Scriptures were in Latin, so only priests could read them, a calculated ploy of the Roman Catholic Church.) After a brief discussion of the upheaval such a translation will cause, Frederick then stretches out his hands and asks, "Well, can I have my present now?" As Luther slowly brings the new Bible to Frederick, Frederick's old fingers tremble with an anticipatory itch. Receiving the book, he immediately opens it, and a smile spreads across his kind face as he silently reads for the very first time the Scriptures of One he presumably loves.
It's a beautiful scene full of meaning for those of us who also love the Scriptures. I don't know whether it's historically accurate, but it's beautiful.
Imagine not being able to read the Bible for yourself?