Tag Archives: Martin Luther

Daily Multigrain

Daily Bread

Okay, yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Yesterday many of us went to church, confessed our sins, received the promise of forgiveness and went home.  Now what?  How are you going to allow God to work in your life today?

It does not have to be some big spiritual feat or sacrifice.   A simple prayer asking God to start your day with grace and gratitude.  For example, take one petition from the Lord’s Prayer, such as “Give us today our daily bread.”   Reflect on that as you eat your breakfast, drink your morning cup of tea, as you start your car or turn on your computer. All that we have, all that we use each day is a gift from our Creator. 

Martin Luther answered the question, “What does ‘daily bread’ mean?”  in the Small Catechism. 

Everything included in the necessity and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors and the like.

Slow down and see the amazing grace all around us.  Our daily bread is truly multi-grain and nourishing.

 Where was God for you in the second day of Lent?

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Prayer Helps

Bishop N. T. Wright

I am preparing for a talk on prayer this evening and wonder if and when anyone uses the written prayers of others to guide their prayers.  I am convicted by N. T. Wright’s comments that, “we moderns are so anxious to do things our own way, so concerned that if we get help from anyone else our prayer won’t be ‘authentic’ and come from our own heart, that we are instantly suspicious about using anyone else’s prayers. . . . We are hamstrung by the long legacy of the Romantic movement, (which) produced the idea that things are authentic only if they come spontaneously, unbidden, from the depths of our hearts. ” (N. T. Wright, Simply Christian, p. 164-165)

I confess that I have at time been such an advocate of spontaneous prayers of the heart.   Yet I also know the value of written prayers that have guided Christian prayer for centuries.   Jesus, being a first-century Jew, learned memorized prayers such as the Shema (“Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one,” found in Deuteronomy 6:4)  and the Psalms.  He taught his own disciples his kingdom prayer, the prayer we call the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6 and Luke 11).  The prayer of St. Francis continues to “make us instruments of God’s peace.”   Martin Luther wrote short prayers for the morning and evening to be included in his Catechism.   AA groups use Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer to close their meetings.  Written prayers can give shape and structure to our devotional life.

One of my favorite written prayers I learned from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but it probably has a deeper history.   The prayer is part of the morning prayer service and I have used it at various time in my ministry, especially at the beginning of something new.

Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

What written prayer(s) have shaped your faith life?  In what ways?

Light Work

Shoemaker as Light to the World

Jesus declared, “You are the light of the world. . .  Let your light shine before others so that they can see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14). I am convinced that our light is to shine in our workplaces, however challenging that might be.  The challenge can come in various ways as we seek to love our neighbor through our work.

I have adapted a story (attributed to Martin Luther?) that helps illustrate the idea that our vocation (calling) is to love our neighbor and by doing that we glorify God.  A cobbler was noted for making very good shoes and he had many customers who valued his craftsmanship.  One day the cobbler had a spiritual awakening and decided he needed to make a more overt witness to Jesus.   He determined that he would place a cross on every pair of shoes as a testimony to God.   At first his customers had no strong reaction, they liked his shoes and the cross was okay.  However the cobbler began to spend more and more time on the crosses and less and less time on the shoes themselves.  The quality of the shoes began to suffer and his customers were disappointed   They first came because they needed good shoes; now they had to go elsewhere to find the shoes they needed.

The cobbler loved his neighbor when he made good shoes for them.  When he neglected that calling, his neighbor and his business suffered.  The cobbler had a good intention when he wanted to bear witness to Jesus by attaching crosses to the shoe.   To bear evangelical witness to Jesus is part of our calling as Jesus’ disciples.  We can pray for opportunities to bear witness to Jesus at work.  There are  times and ways to speak to our faith in Jesus, even at our work place.  Yet the very quality of the work we do can be a light to the world.     

We all have gifts and talents that are needed in the world.  By doing that work well we glorify God in heaven.  We make “Light Work.”

How does God’s light shine at your workplace?