John Toews - “Martin Luther”
Please login to view the bulletins.
It's not often that Halloween and Reformation Sunday both fall on October 31, the date Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg cathedral. John Toews used St. Paul's comment about God using the foolish to shame the wise and the weak to shame the strong to describe Luther. A Benedictine parish priest and university teacher, Luther was angry at Rome for selling indulgences to allegedly get the souls of the departed out of purgatory when the real objective was to raise money to build St. Peter's in Rome. Narrowly missed by a lightning strike, Luther felt a need to constantly confess in order to feel worthy before God. In reading the Psalms Luther finds a God who cares about suffering, a God who cares about the human condition. Paul's letter to the Romans gave Luther problems: the word righteousness could mean "you have broken the law" or "God suspends the sentence; we have a gracious and friendly God." Luther, a simple monk, defied an emperor and criticized the papacy; he was blunt, courageous, outspoken, foolish and lacked a sense of diplomacy. Yet he brought a religious revolution to Europe. Luther believed God had chosen him for this task; he freely surrendered to God and was joyfully daring. Luther brokered marriages between priests and nuns, married a former nun, (Katherine) who was crucial to his success. She enabled him to write and preach. John described their relationship as a model for a pastoral family. Luther had health problems, loved his beer, and was often in danger: God uses the foolish and the weak. (HN)