by The Rev. Mark Buetow
The rally cry of Higher Things is “Dare to be Lutheran!” In October, Lutherans celebrate Reformation Day , the day when Dr. Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg to call the church back to preaching God’s grace through Jesus Christ. Martin Luther was ready to give his life for the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake alone, just as many more martyrs before him had given their lives for confessing Jesus. Today, however, we live in a world where it is unacceptable to say that one religion is right and others are wrong. Today, even Christians are timid when it comes to saying that Christ is the only way to heaven. Even more, some Lutherans call themselves “Lutheran-Christians” as if to emphasize that somehow the two aren’t quite the same. Against all this, we say, “Dare to be Lutheran!” And just what does it mean to “Dare to be Lutheran?” Read on!
“Dare to be Lutheran” means that you dare to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. It means that we confess that Jesus Christ is the ONLY Way, Truth and Life. He alone is true God and true man who was born of the Virgin Mary to carry our sins to the cross of Calvary and die for them. To be Lutheran is to believe, teach, confess, celebrate, rejoice in and live by Christ and Him crucified. It is to joyfully declare to the world that the God who was killed on the cross and rose again is the only true God and Savior. To dare to be Lutheran is to have all of your hopes and confidence in Jesus, who has rescued us from sin, death, the devil, hell, the curse of the Law and the judgment of God. It is to trust in the Jesus who has given us forgiveness of sins, life, salvation, and made us children of God with an eternal inheritance. Dare to be Lutheran? It’s all about Christ!
“Dare to be Lutheran” means that you live only by Christ’s gifts. It means confessing the salvation that God gives in Holy Baptism where you are born again from above by water, word and Spirit and become God’s child by His grace. Daring to be Lutheran is about believing that by the pastor whom God calls, Jesus Himself forgives our sins and no one in heaven or hell or on earth can say otherwise. It means that all of our religion and piety and worship and believing and doctrine and teaching come from one place and one place only: The Holy Scriptures, the pure “fountain of Israel” which are God’s holy Word. Daring to be Lutheran means having a hunger and thirst for the body and blood of Jesus at His altar. His Supper is no symbolic meal but a true and living gift of the very body and blood that were pierced and flowed on the cross for your sins. Dare to be Lutheran? It’s all about Christ’s gifts!
“Dare to be Lutheran” means that you speak, sing and listen for Christ and God’s Word in your worship and when you hear teaching. It means singing the hymns of the faith with gusto, singing the liturgy with joy and worshiping not mostly to tell God how great He is, but to receive from Him His holy and saving gifts. Daring to be Lutheran is all about hearing our pastors teach us Christ from the Holy Scriptures, call us to repentance for our sins, and teach us how Christ lives for others in and through us. It means asking the hard questions and relating all that we hear and learn to Christ and his salvation. Daring to be Lutheran means rejecting what is false and flashy for what is true and genuine. Dare to be Lutheran? It’s all about Christ’s Word and teaching!
“Dare to be Lutheran” also means that you enjoy the creation that is a gift from your heavenly Father, even while knowing this life is passing away for a better life to come. Daring to be Lutheran means enjoying the gifts of this world in music and art and friends and activities. It means being hardcore sports fans or skilled video game players. It means enjoying good food and fun entertainment. It means being silly and having fun with friends. It means having a good time without having to fall into the excesses of a world that has no heavenly perspective. Daring to be Lutheran recognizes that all of these things are gifts from our heavenly Father, given to us for Jesus’ sake. Dare to be Lutheran? It’s all about every good gift given to you through Jesus Christ.
So as Reformation Day approaches, “Dare to be Lutheran!” As St. Peter says, be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you! It’s Christ. By His cross and through water, word, body and blood, Jesus has saved you from your sins. He continues to forgive them and has prepared a place for you in the life to come. Dare to be Lutheran? You bet! Dare to be Lutheran! For Christ is Lord of all!