Oh, to have the confidence of Luther

That Martin Luther was bold. Martin Luther? The German monk who spurred the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century? That Martin Luther wrote Luther’s Small Catechism which succinctly sums up the Lutheran faith with tidy explanations and statements like, “This is most certainly true.”

Lutherans everywhere are in on this joke, but the rest of you are probably still thinking about the civil rights movement and “I have a dream.” No, not that guy. You Minnesotans understand.

Good ol’ Martin Luther crossed my mind twice today. During one of National Public Radio’s updates on the cardinals meeting in Rome to choose a new pope, I wondered how many of them are the “Martin Luther” type — the rebels who nail Ninety-Five Thesis to the front door of the church in public complaint of church practices, specifically the pope’s practices. Probably none. Martin Luther was a special sort, one who comes along every 1,600 years or so.

Then, in church this evening … Wait, let me explain that. We Lutherans go to church on Wednesdays during Lent (the run-up to Easter). Strange, I know. It’s Catholics who give things up for Lent and eat fish. We Lutherans practice a different form of sacrifice.

Anyway, in church tonight we read Luther’s explanation of the Second Article of Faith which ends in “This is most certainly true.” Instantly, I was brought back to eighth grade and chore of memorizing such things. In order to be confirmed, young Lutherans must memorize most of Luther’s Small Catechism, no small feat for a sleep-deprived teenager more interested in video games and the opposite sex than religious books written in the 16th century. This practice of rote memorization has phrases like “This is most certainly true” ringing in our ears for the better part of our lifetimes.

I admire Luther for being so bold. Explaining faith and God’s intentions takes some gumption. How does he know? Well, there’s his years of study and solid backing by the Bible, but even as an educated adult with access to Google’s millions of definitions and translations, I don’t know. Yet, we Lutherans confidently say, “This is most certainly true.”

Really, what can I say “this is most certainly true” about nowadays? All that’s certain is death and taxes. This is most certainly true.

Paper or plastic? I don’t know. Even those re-usable bags are suspect if you don’t actually re-use them.

Paperbacks or ebooks? I’m straddling the chasm between them. I read both.

Can I count on Social Security? Who knows. I’m not even sure the current rally in the stock market is good news or bad news.

Life and faith and the future are all so murky.

This is most certainly true.

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4 responses to “Oh, to have the confidence of Luther

  1. I’m a Lutheran in Wisconsin, and those words are etched into my brain too.

  2. Ah, yes, Wisconsinites, too. Have you heard about how Yahoo’s autocomplete describes the 50 states? One types in, for example, “Minnesota is …” and gets the most common response. We Minnesotans are apparently arrogant sorts, or perhaps just jealous of you Wisconsites. Autocomplete says Minnesota is … better than Wisconsin. You don’t want to know what Wisconsin is (though it’s better than Illinois is). Check it out here… http://www.flipcollective.com/2013/02/04/the-united-states-is-how-autocomplete-describes-the-50-states-by-matt-shirley/

  3. Pingback: Rearranging the deck chairs | Minnesota Transplant

  4. Pingback: Private Confession and Absolution for Lutherans: How Important is it, Really? | De Profundis Clamavi ad Te, Domine

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