Why (I HOPE!) I write these things
16 If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! 1 Corinthians 9:16 (NAB)
The quick and widespread acceptance of this tract attests to the inner needs of the common people. Writings such as this, with their pastoral emphasis, attracted even more readers than those concerned with protest. While no single, specific cause can be cited which impelled a polemically busy Luther to write such a treatise, it can be assumed that his contact with the people in the parish forced him to take note of the areas in which the search for peace and salvation was most desperate.
The quote from Luther’s Words above is most interesting to me.
In the midst of all his troubles with the Roman Catholic Church, with all the wars of words (and threats of bodily harm) he took the time to write the document, entitled, “A Meditation on Christ’s Passion”. Something utterly pastoral at first glance, something that the translator/editor commented upon above…. saying his contact with people forced it, as their search for peace and salvation was most desperate.
Our time is no different, and it is my prayer that what I write hear, or even on facebook or Twitter, and in my sermons responds to that need. People desperately need the kind of peace that God promises, the kind that is beyond explanation, beyond understanding, that keeps our hearts and minds safe, even during the largest of traumas.
A peace that is needed by people of every age, of every ethnicity, of every nation.
I’ve been through a lot in my life, enough to know times where peace is the last word I would use to describe my life. I’ve been there for people too, as life crashes, as loved ones die, as others deal with trauma that they can do nothing about, no matter how strong they think they are.
And into those times, I pray they know God’s peace. Even if I don’t know their situation, perhaps these words, or a video of our church service, provides for them the knowledge of the gospel.
The knowledge of God’s mercy, and His love, and mostly, His presence.
I pray that is what these words do for you my reader…
He is with you, He will take care fo anything broken in your life… and you know His love…
And if I am not doing that… please wallop me upside the head… please.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 5.