Vintage Reflections: Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483-1543) Today’s Vintage was a wonderful amalgam of barbeque, slaw, Martin Luther’s thoughts on anxiety, and pecan pie.  Martin Luther is considered the Father of the Protestant Reformation.  He devoted himself to Augustinian monasticism at the age of 20 and was ordained at 24 years old.  Luther became concerned with his salvation – where to seek it, where it was embodied, and how to secure it.  He resolved that his salvation relied more so on his personal relationship with and faith in God and set his life to come to a biblical understanding of Christ.

Yet through Luther’s commencement of the modernity in the Church, he struggled with crippling anxiety.  At Vintage, we looked at 3 passages on this topic, each from his preaching on the Sermon on the Mount.  Luther speaks on distinguishing greed from the concern of love.  We decided that the difference lies in showing concern for others or allowing self-concern and self-interest to dwell in our hearts.  Luther also declares birds as schoolmasters and teachers.  Birds are made to preach through their song.  They are oftentimes caged, relying upon owners for food, care, and shelter.  However, Luther believes that birds were created to be free – happier, singing praises, and relying solely on the provisions of the Creator.  Birds “exhort you with this Gospel. Not with mere simple words, but with a living deed and an example.”  A wonderful idea – to appreciate each bird’s song heard on Grounds as a testimony of “the art of trusting Him and of casting cares from themselves upon God.”

 We students replaced the word “anxiety” with “worries”, and then applied it to our college lives – overwhelmed by grades, social scenes, and academic challenges.  However, encouragement was found in Luther’s words in the final passage:

“So forget your anxieties, since you cannot accomplish anything by them.  It does not depend upon your anxiety but upon His knowledge and concern.”

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Boldly and without hindrance,

Betty Li, UVa 2015