I am doing adult instruction with the spouse of one of my members. They live a few hours away, couldn't work out a time for adult instruction with their pastor (he has X fixed time which does not coincide with the spouses' boss's time frame) - so we go in large chunks when they come home to visit her family. And I really enjoy the class - basically using Pless's Didache with ample commentary from me.
In discussing the Holy Spirit and the 3rd article, we noted how the fact that the Holy Spirit is the cause of faith doesn't jive with most Americans. Everyone wants to take credit for their faith instead of actually believing that it is a gift from God. And so I pulled out my old sarcastic summation of Lutheranism which I think is accurate - and which I will present here.
To be Lutheran is to be "Humble" and "Lazy".
Lutherans are humble. Not just in a kind, social sense - but in a spiritual sense. God's Law says, "Hey, you, you stink on ice!" A Lutheran makes no protestations against this, a Lutheran doesn't point to so called works. . . a Lutheran simply agrees, "Yeah, I stink. Big time."
Lutherans are lazy. When asked what he is going to do to get himself to heaven, a Lutheran says, "Um. . . nothing. It's what Christ does for me and gives to me. It's about what He does." No thoughts on all the burdensome spiritual chores I must do - not even thoughts on how well I must decide on Christ - just Jesus does what needs to be done and the Holy Spirit brings this to me by Word and Baptism and Supper - just as He does for everyone else.
So what do you say, O Lutheran? Have you been humble lately - freely recognizing your own vile stench? Have you be lazy lately - letting Christ be the one who cleans up your messes after you? Or have you been becoming an Evangelical and deciding on all the things you must do for Jesus to make yourself worthy of Him? Or have you become a Roman Catholic determined to clean up for yourself (lest Jesus yell at you)?
It's not "about" you - o Christian - you are not the hero of the story. It's about Christ. Now, thankfully, it is "for" you - what He does is all for you. Be humble - see your need. Be lazy - and let Christ do the work. Rejoice and be glad in this - and you will be a Lutheran.