18 February 2009

Commemoration of Martin Luther, Doctor and Confessor

Today, upon the date of his death, our Synod commemorates and gives thanks to God for Blessed Martin Luther. From the Treasury and Synod's Website:
Martin Luther, born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, initially began studies leading toward a degree in law. However, after a close encounter with death, he switched to the study of theology, entered an Augustinian monastery, was ordained a priest in 1505, and received a doctorate in theology in 1512. As a professor at the newly-established University of Wittenberg, his scriptural studies led him to question many of the church's teachings and practices, especially the selling of indulgences. His refusal to back down from his convictions resulted in his excommunication in 1521. Following a period of seclusion at the Wartburg castle, Luther returned to Wittenberg, where he spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching, translating the Scriptures, and writing hymns and numerous theological treatises. He is remembered and honored for his lifelong emphasis on the biblical truth that for Christ's sake God declares us righteous by grace through faith alone. He died on February 18, 1546, while visiting the town of his birth.
He was in that town, by the way, as a peace-maker, seeking to settle a squabble among the nobles.

I was talking with my friend, Paul McCain the other day about the way Luther wrote. He drops these jewels along the way in the midst of rather mediocre stuff, and it's for hunting and collecting the gems that we delight to read him. Here's one of my favorite gems from him, a relatively early work, but accurately reflects his teaching until death:
This life is not godliness, but growth in godliness;
  not health, but healing;
  not being, but becoming;
  not rest, but exercise.
  We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way;
  the process is not yet finished, but it has begun;
  this is not the goal, but it is road;
  at present all does not gleam and glitter, but everything is being
    - Martin Luther, A Defense and Explanation of All Articles (AE 32:24)

The collect for the day: O God, our refuge and our strength, You raised up Your servant Martin Luther to reform and renew Your Church in the light of your living Word, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Defend and purify the Church in our own day, and grant that we may boldly proclaim Christ's faithfulness unto death and His vindicating resurrection, which You made known to Your servant Martin, through Jesus Christ, our Lord... (Treasury, p. 1219)


Anonymous said...

The Luther quote from v. 32:24 is not as it's found in AE. Is it an original translation?


William Weedon said...

I took it from the translation offered in A/F "Welcome to Christ" series; the AE is only for reference.