02 February 2015

Feast Day of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord

I'll let old Luther have the honor this day:

For the Law of Moses needed to be kept which required that a woman who had given birth to a son had to stay indoors forty-two days, that is, six weeks, and be considered unclean, meaning that she was to have no so social intercourse with anyone, nor could she go out in public; for everything she touched would be unclean. If a woman had given birth to a daughter, then according to the law she had to be sequestered 84 days, that is, twelve weeks, and be unclean. Now, although Mary was not required to do this—the Law of Moses having no claim over her, for she had given birth without pain and her virginity remained unsullied—nevertheless, she kept quiet, and submitted herself to the common law of all women and let herself be accounted unclean.

She was, without doubt, a pure, chaste virgin before the birth, in the birth, and after the birth, and she was neither sick nor weakened from the birth and certainly could have gone out of the house after giving birth, not only because of her exemption under the Law, but also because of the uninterrupted soundness of her body. For her Son did not detract from her virginity, but actually strengthened it; but, in spite of this, not only the mother but also the son, both allowed themselves to be considered unclean according to the Law. He is, we know, not under obligation, but does it readily and gladly, as St. Paul says in Gal. 4:4: "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son,  made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under law."

House Postils III:256 (Sermon from 1541)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

No, I will not argue for or against what Luther wrote. My concern is elsewhere: Nobody has reacted to this post. Why is that? I waited and waited. Surely there are more wise people than I who are not comfortable with these words. Maybe not. Here are several possible reasons why nobody responded:
1. There is no need to respond; the posting is as uncontroversial as the Apostle’s Creed.
2. Nobody wanted to disagree with Luther.
3. Nobody wanted to disagree with Rev. Weedon.
4. It does not matter whether Luther was right or wrong.
5. Even if Luther was wrong here, it does not affect the Gospel.
6. The Confessions support the perpetual virginity of the Mother of our Lord; the details are not important.
Are there other reasons?
Here is what I think we can say about these words of Luther:
1. There are truths asserted in them which cannot be found in Scripture.
2. There are truths asserted in them which contradict Scripture.
3. They misrepresent the true nature and significance of the Law.
4. There are truths asserted with them that are contradicted by reliable sources outside of Scripture.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart