Katherine von Bora Luther


The First Lady of the Reformation by Gaylin Schmeling. This originally appeared in Lutheran Synod Quarterly published by Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, however, the link to the archive was broken, so I no longer know which issue of LSQ .

Katherine von Bora is the best known woman of the Reformation because she was Luther’s wife. While Katherine has been eclipsed in history by the great fame of her husband, she was far from a wallflower. She was a rock of support at her husband’s side throughout their married life.Katherine was born in January of 1499, and at the age of ten she was placed in the nunnery at Nimschen near Grimma when her father remarried.

In the 1520s the writings of Luther began to infiltrate the nunnery. The message of salvation through faith alone in Christ brought comfort and peace to the sisters’ hearts. A number of them turned to Luther for advice and he counseled escape, which was shortly accomplished. On April 7, 1523, Katherine and the other sisters reached Wittenberg. Luther felt responsible for finding suitable mates for the former nuns and managed for the most part, but this was not the case in Katherine’s situation. This may be due to the fact that she had her eye on Luther. In any event Luther and Katie were married in June of 1525. Their relationship probably was not the most romantic at the start, yet years later Luther would declare, “I would not exchange Katie for France or Venice, because God has given her to me, and other women have worse faults.”

With this marriage the Black Cloister of Wittenberg became the first Lutheran parsonage. With marriage came also an entirely different lifestyle for Luther. Katherine brought order out of chaos at the Black Cloister. Not only did she provide a clean house and a made bed, which were an unknown luxury for the unmarried Luther, but she also brought about financial responsibility. She kept Luther from giving away everything they had and she put the household on a budget. Katherine helped support the household by managing a farm and a brewery. It was not long before Martin and Katherine had still more responsibility. Within eight years they became the parents of six children. Three sons and three daughters were born to this union. They also raised a number of orphaned relatives.

Katherine was a faithful wife to Luther. In times of sickness she was his compassionate nurse. In Lutherís dark periods burdened down by the struggles of life, Katie was able to comfort him with that same long hidden Gospel treasure that God through Luther had restored to the world. Katie was indeed Luther’s faithful rib. Katherine saw the death of her beloved husband in 1546 and outlived him by six years. In the summer of 1552 the plague broke out in Wittenberg. By fall Katie decided they had to leave. On the way the horses became frightened and bolted. Katie jumped from the wagon and was seriously injured. For months she lay suffering and finally died in the Lord on December 20, 1552.

One of the greatest legacies the church has received from the marriage of Martin and Katherine Luther is the Lutheran parsonage. The Luther home became the example for future Lutheran parsonages and Lutheran homes in general. The Luther house was given to hospitality. It was filled with children, students, and relatives. There was always a place for those in need. It was a place of culture and music and of joy and happiness.

This heritage continued even in the Lutheran Church in America. The early Lutheran parsonages were shelters for the needy, inns for travelers, and centers of culture. Frontier parsonages such as the home of Elisabeth and Ulrik Koren were a great blessing to the Lutheran Church. May the Lutheran home and parsonage always be a place of hospitality. This is the legacy of Katie Luther, the first lady of the Reformation.

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Commemoration: St. Matthias, Apostle


St. Matthias is one of the lesser-known Apostles. According to the early Church Fathers, Matthias was one of the 72 sent out by Jesus in Luke 10:1ff. After the Ascension, he was chosen by lot to fill the vacancy in the Twelve resulting from the death of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:16-25). Early church Tradition places Matthias in a number of locations. Some historians suggest that he went to Ethiopia; others place him in Armenia, the first nation to adopt Christianity as a national religion. Martyred for his faith, Matthias may well have met his death at Colchis in Asia Minor, around the year A.D. 50. The church of St. Matthias at Trier, Germany, claims the honor of being the final burial site for Matthias, the only one of the twelve Apostle to be buried in Europe north of the Alps. (LCMS.org/worship)

Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Lutheran Service Book:F13)

Acts 1:12-26: Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (ESVTM)

Commemoration: Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr


Born c. 69, Polycarp was a central figure in the Early Church. A disciple of the evangelist John, he linked the first generation of believers to later Christians. After serving for many years as bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp was arrested, tried, and executed for his faith on February 23, c. 156. An eyewitness narrative of his death, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, continues to encourage believers in times of persecution. (LCMS.org/worship)

PRAYER: O God, the maker of heaven and earth, You gave boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior and steadfastness to die for the faith to Your venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp. Grant us grace to follow his example in sharing the cup of Christ’s suffering so that we may also share in His glorious resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. (Treasury of Daily Prayer:1150)

Polycarp to the Philippians:

If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us, we also ought to forgive: for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must give an account of himself.

Let us therefore so serve Him with fear and all reverence, as He himself gave commandment and the Apostles who preached the Gospel to us and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of our Lord; being zealous as touching that which is good, abstaining from offenses and from the false brethren and from them that bear the name of the Lord in hypocrisy, who lead foolish men astray.

For every one who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is antichrist: and whosoever shall not confess the testimony of the Cross, is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and say that there is neither resurrection nor judgment, that man is the firstborn of Satan.

Wherefore let us forsake the vain doing of the many and their false teachings, and turn unto the word which was delivered unto us from the beginning, being sober unto prayer and constant in fastings, entreating the all-seeing God with supplications that He bring us not into temptation, according as the Lord said, The Spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. (THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP, Translated by J.B. Lightfoot; 6:2–7:3)

New Commemorations in LSB


Dr. Rick Stuckwisch writes:

Among the most enjoyable aspects of the Lutheran Hymnal Project, for me, was the work of the Lectionary Committee on an expanded sanctoral cycle, that is, the calendar of festivals and commemorations that occur in the course of each year. There was some friendly debate, to begin with, as to whether we should develop a list of commemorations in addition to the small cycle of festivals the LCMS already had, but, by and large, the Committee was keen to do so. Then there was some vigorous discussion of the parameters to be followed and the extent to which we would expand the sanctoral cycle. The healthy give and take of our deliberations resulted in a solid list of commemorations and a couple new festivals, which, so far as I can tell, have been well received and really appreciated by the people of the Missouri Synod. I’m glad.

Read the rest of this informative post at his blog thinking out loud.

WHITE PAPER #5: Concordia’s Treasury of Daily Prayer: Purpose and Source of the Writings


The primary aim of the devotional writings in the Treasury of Daily Prayer is to serve those who pray the Treasury with solid devotional material. Our selection of writings for the Treasury reflects the faith and confession of the Lutheran Church, and consequently, features a selection of writings from the church fathers. The selection of writings in The Treasury demonstrate the Lutheran Church’s catholicity, and, where it was not fully known, to introduce our readers to their heritage as Lutheran Christians. What Lutherans believe has always been taught, if not always purely or fully, in the Church. Thus The Treasury provides representation to every era Of the Church. We are not, of course, in full agreement with everything every writer we used ever wrote. We could not even say that of Martin Luther. But we are united to all our writers in faith and think they all have something to say to us. There are sure to be a few surprises even for the most well read among us. We do hope that some readers will be encouraged to deeper reading and for that reason (as well as legal obligations) we have provided full bibliographic information in the acknowledgments section of the Treasury. Continue reading

Today in [Lutheran] HistoryThe Diet of Worms: 10.12.06


http://odeo.com/flash/audio_player_gray.swf

In 1521 Martin Luther came to the town of Worms, in Germany, to explain his attacks on the Catholic Church to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and the gathered dignitaries of the German lands. What happened at that meeting, called the Diet of Worms, tore countries apart, set nation against nation, felled kings and plunged dynasties into suicidal bouts of infighting. But why did Martin Luther risk execution to go to the Diet, what was at stake for the big players of medieval Europe and how did events at the Diet of Worms irrevocably change the history of Europe?

More info: http://www.bbc.co.uk