LUTHER & LENT
Monday, March 4th, 2013 at 9:34 am
LUTHER AND LENT: From the LivingLutheran.com blog of the ELCA.
For eight days in Lent, beginning on Invocavit Sunday, March 9, 1522, Luther preached eight sermons, which became known as the “Invocavit Sermons.” Invocavit or Quadragesima Sunday is the Sunday immediately after Ash Wednesday — the first Sunday of Lent.
In these eight sermons, Luther spoke on the core values of Christianity — love, patience, charity and freedom. Here is but a sampling of what he had to say in those Lenten sermons.
· The summons of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Every one must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone. We can shout into another’s ears, but every one must himself be prepared for the time of death, for I will not be with you then, nor you with me. Therefore every one must himself know and be armed with the chief things which concern a Christian.
· God does not want hearers and repeaters of words [James 1:22], but followers and doers, and this occurs in faith through love. For faith without love is not enough — rather it is not faith at all, but a counterfeit of faith, just as a face seen in a mirror is not a real face, but merely the reflection of a face [1 Corinthians 13:12].
· The chief characteristics of a Christian … are faith and love. Faith is directed toward God, love toward man and one’s neighbor, and consists in such love and service for him as we have received from God without our work and merit.
· Nay, if we would drive away our one worst enemy, who does us the most harm, we would have to kill ourselves, for we have no greater enemy than our own heart, even as Jeremiah says, “The heart of man is crooked,” or, as I take the meaning, “always twisting to one side or the other.” (Jeremiah 17:9) And what good would that do us?
· But patience works and produces hope, which freely yields itself to God and finds solace in Him. Thus faith, by much affliction and persecution, ever increases, and is strengthened day by day. And the heart which by God’s grace has received such virtues must ever be active and freely expend itself for the benefit and service of the brethren, even as it has received from God.
· And when I have this faith, then I am certain God is fighting for me; I can defy devil, death, hell and sin and all the harm with which they threaten me.
· This is what Christ did, when He prepared to institute the blessed sacrament. He brought anguish upon His disciples and trembling to their hearts when He said that He would go away from them, (Matthew 26:2) and again they were tormented when He said: One of you shall betray me. (Matthew 26:21) Think you not that that cut them to the heart? Truly, they received the word with all fear, and sat there as though they were all traitors to God. And after He had made them all tremble with fear and sorrow, then only did He institute the blessed sacrament as a comfort, and consoled them again. For this bread is a comfort for the sorrowing, a healing for the sick, a life for the dying, a food for all the hungry, and a rich treasure for all the poor and needy.
· I commend you to God. Amen.