“Let your sin be strong, but your faith be stronger.”
That’s a paraphrase of words Martin Luther wrote to his friend and collaborator, Phillip Melanchthon in 1521, just a few months after Luther himself had stood trial at the Diet of Worms. He’d “let his sin be strong”–he let his faith in the gospel drive him out of unity with the Catholic church, something he’d never meant to do. Now hiding out in Wittenberg, he was trying to let his faith be stronger. Luther writes with what sounds to me like equal measures of conviction and resignation:
We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.
Luther’s commitment to what he understood the gospel of Christ to mean, even when it set him against the prevailing powers of his day, ultimately transformed the world. And it’s become my personal tagline, as I stumble along with an odd and wondrous calling, fingers crossed and hands clasped that it’s not my work that ultimately makes the difference, but the work Jesus has already done.
Occupation: Full-time solo pastor in the ELCA, serving a congregation in south central PA. Part-time dog butt scratcher.
Favorite fancy theological word: adiaphora
Preferred sermon-writing prop: Coffee…and funny cat videos
Dog’s name: Count von Zinzendorf. Call him Zin.
Food of choice if trapped on desert island: Peanut butter
Stuff I write about: Lutheran-flavored liturgy, history, and music; social issues and the church; my dogs, past and present.