Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Luther, On His Daily Life

I do not know how strong in spirit others may be, but I cannot make myself so holy, even if I were so learned and Spirit-filled as some fancy themselves to be. But my experience is always that when I am without the Word, when I do not think about it or occupy myself with it, then no Christ is present nor indeed are any spiritual desires. But as soon as I take up a psalm or a passage of Scripture, it so shines and burns in my heart that I gain a different mood and mind. And I know that everyone will daily epxerience this for himself.
Martin Luther, Luthers Works 69, P. 18

That's what I love about Luther: he so well and honestly expresses my own daily experience. Try this with Calvin, and you always end up feeling inadequate.

My chore on those mornings when I remember to read from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, is to find a passage or two that catches my eye and heart. Then I 'm good to go. Bonhoeffer suggested studying, meditating on and praying only one short passage per week. Gobbling up a whole chapter of holy scripture in a morning's devotion is all well and good, but more often than not I find more food for thought and depth of understanding and enrichment, when I hit upon even a short verse that for whatever reason for the first time strikes a deep chord. Sometimes I have to read a chapter of scripture just to find the verse. But the hidden treasure is well worth the search. The rest of my day resonates well.

It is interesting to me to think of Luther NOT with his nose in scripture. How often did that happen? Often enough, it seems, for him to comment on it in a sermon on the 17th chapter of the gospel of John. Then again, dig through his Table Talks and you get an idea there were times when he'd spent a little too much time with his onion, sausage, and beer--especially the beer-- and not enough time in the Word. He did have a coarseness about him you would not have found, I think, in the refined John Calvin.

That's another thing I like about Luther...

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