Dear Friends of the Living Messiah,
WE ARE LUTHERAN. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
That is a good question to ask this month as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 Theses in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. Luther was an Augustinian Monk and Roman Catholic Priest with his doctorate in Biblical studies. Luther was called by the church to teach the Bible as a professor in a new university being established by Prince Frederick the Wise in the province of Saxony.
LUTHER DID NOT WANT TO START A NEW CHURCH, he wanted to reform God’s church. He took very seriously his calling to teach God’s people God’s Word. In his studies, he saw practices in the church which were not consistent with the Bible. Reforming these practices is what Luther sought to do, and that is when the trouble started.
WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT BEING LUTHERAN?
Here are 10 things that make me say, “It is good to be a Lutheran.”
- WE ARE CHRISTOCENTRIC. Jesus Christ is at the center of what we preach and teach. We worship God the Father and God the Holy Spirit too. But, we see and understand God most clearly in the actions and words of Jesus.
- WE ARE PEOPLE OF THE WORD. The Bible is God’s inspired word for us (2 Timothy 3:16). We strive to have what we say and what we do in mission based on God’s Word.
- WE ARE EVANGELICAL, that is WE ARE GOOD NEWS PEOPLE. Sadly, the word ‘evangelical’ has taken on a political meaning in recent decades. ‘Evangelical’ means ‘Good news’. Lutherans believe God’s Word is above all, good news.
- WE ARE CATHOLIC with a small ‘c’, as we confess in the creeds. Catholic is a Greek word meaning ‘universal’. God has just one Church. We rejoice that we are not alone, but have Christian sisters and brothers with different traditions.
- WE ARE GRACE CENTERED. We believe (and sing) “God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
- WE ARE WORSHIP CENTERED. God’s gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation are bestowed in worship. Worship is the fountainhead from which flow all our other ministries.
- WE ARE LITURGICAL. We embrace rich forms in worship which have been handed down to us by our ancestors in the faith. One tradition is embracing variety in forms of worshiping God.
- WE CELEBRATE BAPTISM as God’s gracious action upon us, not our action to earn God’s favor. (see Titus 3:5-7)
- WE CELEBRATE THE LORD’S SUPPER as the real presence of Jesus’ body and blood in the bread and wine. The benefits of the Sacrament are forgiveness, life, and salvation (see Luther’s Small Catechism).
- WE CELEBRATE BEING TOGETHER AS DISCIPLES. Our Lutheran confessions call this ‘the mutual conversation and consolation of the brothers (sisters too!)‘
It is good to be Christian and Lutheran. It is good to be loved by God. And, it is good to care for others just as our Lord cares for us. Jesus loves you, this I know…
Grace and peace,
Pastor Scott Peterson
Source: October 2017 “Messiah Messenger” Pastor’s Page by Reverend Scott Peterson, Messiah Lutheran Church, Madison, Alabama. www.mlutheran.org