Reflections: Martin of Tours

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary around the year A.D. 316, Martin grew up in Lombardy (Italy). Coming to the Christian faith as a young person, he began a career in the Roman army. But sensing a call to a church vocation, Martin left the military and became a monk, affirming that he was “Christ’s soldier.” Eventually, Martin was named bishop of Tours in western Gaul (France). He is remembered for his simple lifestyle and his determination to share the Gospel throughout rural Gaul. 

Our Lutheran confessions remind us that it is good to remember saints of old like Martin of Tours. We confess that “the remembrance of the saints is to be commended in order that we may imitate their faith and good works according to their calling” (Augsburg Confession, Article 21). A saint is not someone we go to in prayer so we can get a little extra favor in God’s eyes or to get help in selling our house. A saint is one who has been made holy. 

This is what the Holy Spirit has done for you in Holy Baptism, where the flood of Christ’s own blood has made you holy, right, and good before your heavenly Father (“All Christians Who Have Been Baptized” LSB, 596, st.4). We remember and give thanks to God for the lives of the saints every Sunday in the Divine Service when we gather at the Lord’s table with “angels, archangels, and the whole company of heaven.” Who is that company of heaven but the saints? After we commune, we sing the hymn of St. Simeon (“Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace. . . “). Next, we pray that the Body and Blood of Jesus would cause us to live “in fervent love toward one another.” This is a prayer that we would regard and treat one another as saints. As Paul says, “So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). We give thanks to God for our brother, Martin, one with us in the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the true faith; Give us grace to follow in his steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch