For the next month, we at Hope Lutheran Church will be focusing on some of the thoughts and truths that the Lutheran Reformation focused on. Both in sermons and Sunday morning Bible studies, we will the reformation and the theology of Martin Luther.
“For all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls but the word of the Lord remains forever.” – 1 Peter 1:24-25
One may or may not have seen this symbol before. It stands for Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum. If that doesn’t help you, it means “The Word of the Lord stands forever”. And this was the motto for the Lutheran Reformation. Based on 1 Peter 1:24-25, this motto was a foundational theme for all who supported the Reformation. For Luther, it was a truth that brought him the comfort and the courage that was needed to spark the reformation.
When he refused to recant, or take back his writings, it was the foundation of the word that gave him the strength to refuse despite the deadly consequences. He spoke boldly, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”
Imagine speaking these words knowing that the last person (John Huss) who made such a stand was burned at the stake. Then again, imagine a world where everything you thought was good, everything you relied upon, everything that was foundational to your life turned out to be bad, dangerous and condemning. Luther’s was dedicated to the church. He was a monk of monks devoted to his order. He was a theology professor dedicated to his work. But then he found out the church was corrupt, looking out for self and not the people they were called to serve. Everything crumbled around him, except for the Word of God. It remains forever. It is amazing how true this is for our lives as well.
Rev. Eric Hiner