Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Assurance: good news

This morning I was reading Diana Butler Bass's A People's History of Christianity. I read about Martin Luther's search for assurance. Martin Luther had come to see God as a severe and terrible judge and had begun to hate God. Part of his difficulty was the verse in Romans 1:17. Medieval interpreters, based on the Latin in the old Bible translation, translated it as 'Those who love God have faith'. Luther did not love God; therefore he had no faith. No faith meant eternal damnation. (DBB p 164)

Then Luther studied the original Greek and this opened up the words in a new way for him. He began to understand the words to mean the person who lives by faith is given righteousness as a gift of a loving God. Faith doesn't consist of the right acts we do to earn God's favour; God gives faith as God wills. Faith is a gift. DBB writes: When Luther understood these words, his God transformed from a dreadful judge to one of unconditional love. Quoting Luther: "The merciful God justifies us by faith. Now I felt as though I had been reborn altogether and had entered Paradise."

I sat in tears over my bacon and eggs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My dishonest face.

On my way home from leading worship at the local aged care home this morning, I called in at the supermarket to buy something for lunch and a few other things. At the checkout, I unloaded from my bag the four items I had gathered from the shelves and left the bag open so the check-out lady could see what was in it. That helpful lady began to pack my purchases in my bag as I fumbled for my purse. She spotted the margarine container in the bag and beginning to say in her friendliest voice, 'And this one too?' she grabbed it ..... and spilled all the glass beads it contained for use at the worship centre for the aged care service into my bag.

In spite of the cross and the candle that were also in the bag, she thought she had a shop-lifter. Obviously I do not have an honest face.