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lives. He counseled concern, compassion and care for those marginalized in writings such as “Ordinance of Common Chest.” How might we be encouraged and inspired by his witness?


Recent events in the United States show that even though we may have come a long way since the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, we still have a way to go. Christians are called to be a reconciling people. Just as Christ has “abolished the law” to create in him “one new humanity” and reconcile all of us to God (Ephesians 2:15-16) so, too, are we called to join Christ in this work of creating “one new humanity.” Justification by grace reminds us that our identity comes as a gift from God.


City life in 16th-century Germany.


The economy was changing dramatically for many reasons, such as urbanization and the development of new technologies like the printing press. People’s lives and the world around them were changing rapidly, and it didn’t always feel like it was for the better.


My point in mentioning identity, changing economies and education is to say that these were potent forces in Luther’s era and, I think, in our era as well. Luther talked about an identity that extended beyond the local and familiar. Do we also need to think about our identity beyond our nation? Luther ministered in an era when technology and commerce were changing


The church is always reforming! None of us can know where we as a church are called to proclaim the gospel. We don’t know if we’ll be called to proclaim in words or in action. We only know that we are being called both as a church and as individuals to live faithful lives of discipleship, even while we find our hope and our identity not in what we do but in what God has done in Christ Jesus.


David C. Ratke is dean of the College of Theology, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, N.C.


VOICES OF FAITH • LIVINGLUTHERAN.ORG 45


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