Kerstin Weidmann Pastor, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Stacey Siebrasse Pastor, First English Lutheran Church, Billings, Mont.


“ One has to look at the mouth of the people” –Luther. The reformer understood that, in order to

reach people with the good news of Christ’s grace and salvation, you have to speak their language—and for that, you have to actually understand their situation. Beyond language, this applies to cultural shifts and means of communication today.

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“ Christians must be taught …” –Luther (repeatedly in the 95 Theses). Luther advocated for the

education that leads to critical thinking of all Christians in order to live their calling to the fullest. Christian education today should still be thought-provoking and lead to informed and respectful discourse in the face of difference of opinion.

“ What does this mean?” –Luther (repeatedly in the Small Catechism).As followers of Christ, we mustn’t

pretend we have all the answers, but we are called to have an inquisitive heart and mind. Christian life is about wrestling with God’s word, even and especially in conversation with those who have different backgrounds or understandings of God’s word.

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Luther.Grace frees us from the immense burden to somehow redeem ourselves, but we still have the responsibility to extend God’s grace and love to those who need them today (which is everyone).

“ [Give] yourself in service to your neighbor just as you see that Christ has given himself for you


Showing up. My favorite Luther quote states, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.” For

me, this quote employs those visceral, gut feelings we detect when facing a decision to either give in to the status quo or show up for and speak out in the name of justice, no matter the cost.

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Baptism. Luther’s take on baptism is the main reason I’m a Lutheran today. Baptism is not a one-

time event or a required, eschatological confession. Rather, it is an outward sign of God’s eternal love for us in Christ that has no beginning or end.

God’s omnipresence. In a letter to Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli on the real presence of Christ in

the sacrament, Luther wrote that “God is as present in your cabbage soup as in the sacrament. The difference is that God is hidden in the soup and revealed in the sacrament.” I love this statement, affirming God’s omnipresence in every aspect of our lives.

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all, subject of all, subject to all” –Luther. Freedom has become a keyword and is often interpreted as a personal freedom to do whatever benefits the individual—and subsequently leads to the limitation or even obliteration of the freedom of the underprivileged. Our Christian freedom is defined by the bounds of God’s law of love for the neighbor and all of creation.

“ A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of

24 OCTOBER 2017

Paradoxy. Luther was paradoxical in his teachings, stating that we are “simultaneously saint

and sinner” and both free and subject to none while dutiful and servant to all. These statements remind me of my constant need to self-evaluate and seek forgiveness from God, approaching the font every day to die to self and then rise again as a new creation.

Challenging the church.The kinds of reforms Luther demanded from his church also give me the courage to

challenge my church. Because the ELCA is a mainly white church, we need to learn to decolonize worship and our theology, and we need to uplift the bodies and voices of people of non-white descent or color.

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