If someone asked you what a Lutheran was, how would you respond?
I ask that question to most of the congregations for whom I’ve been a pastor, they looked as blankly then as you do this morning.
For most of us, that’s a tough question to answer. Lutheranism has such a rich and diverse tradition. But it’s also very specific. How do you sum up a whole faith history in a few words?
Those of us initiated in the deeper workings of the Lutheran theological tradition would throw around weighty words such as “justification” and “sanctification” before lapsing into Latin spewing phrases such “sola fide” “sola gratia” “sola scriptura;” high sounding words to explain what is really a tremendously personal faith. “Why,” ask Lutherans, “would you use a 50 cent word when a $100 word will do just as well?
Others, more narratively minded, will tell the story of Martin Luther, from whom we derive our name “Lutheran.”
You’d mention his beginnings as a law student, before being caught in a thunderstorm, and thinking he’s going to die, he cut a deal with St. Anne that if she helps him survive the storm, he’ll devote his life to God and become a monk.
She did. And he...(whole thing here [link fixed: kgp)