Monday, December 9, 2013

An example of Exhortation from Luther

So, I am working ahead (as I have no idea when my son Ambrose might show up) and getting bulletins done for the month - and I saw this Luther quote, which will fill up the last page of my bulletin for the 4th Sunday of Advent when the Magnificat is the Gospel text.

"Therefore we must be on our guard, because we cannot do without God’s good things while we live on earth, and therefore we cannot be without name (reputation) and honor.  When men accord us praise and honor, we ought to profit by the example of the Mother of God and at all times arm ourselves with this very verse to make the proper reply and to use such honor and praise correctly.  We should openly say, or at least think in our heart: O Lord God, Thine is the work that is being praised and celebrated.  Thine be the name too.  Not I have done it, but Thou, who art able to do all things, and holy is Thy Name.  We should neither reject this praise and honor as though they were wrong, nor should we despise them as though they were nothing; but we should refuse to accept them as too precious or noble and we should ascribe them to Him in heaven, to whom they belong."

Consider this quote.  I absolutely love it.  Is it an exhortation?  Sure - on the basis of the text, it is a call to emulate, which is good.  And I love how Luther deals with praise - do not deny that there is anything to be praised, but rather shift the praise from yourself to God.

To God Alone be the Glory.

He's the one who has done it - not me, even though from the perspective of the world I have.  Of course, this is part of what goes on in the 1st Article of the Creed.  We discussed in the children's lesson the idea of God giving us house and home, food and clothing, etc.  While directly and physically, the kid's parents provided them food and clothing, we know and confess that in reality this is an act of God - God working in and through her parents.

That's they way it is for every good thing.

Indeed, that's they way it is even when a rank unbeliever does something that is of benefit to us or that is worthy of civil praise.  When the atheist doctor performs a good surgery, he is using the talents God has blessed him with - whether or not he sees or acknowledges this fact.

It's a great way to view life - indeed, how we ought to view everything.

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