I am currently re-reading one of the most meaningful books I came across in seminary, Gene Edward Vieth’s “The Spirituality of the Cross.” In this book, Vieth, a lay-person who has explored many different religions before becoming a Lutheran Christian, presents a clear overview of Lutheran Theology. His chapter on Justification is one of the best.
Here is how it starts:
Whether in the world’s organized religions or in the individual strivings of human beings to find meaning in their lives, certain patterns keep emerging. Adolf Koeberle notes three kinds of spiritual aspiration: moralism, in which the will seeks to achieve perfection of conduct; speculation, in which the mind seeks to achieve perfection of understanding; and mysticism, in which the soul seeks to achieve perfection by becoming one with God. Though all of these ways contain elements of wisdom, Lutheran spirituality is totally different from them all.
Instead of insisting that human beings attain perfection, Lutheran spirituality begins by facing up to imperfection. We cannot perfect our conduct, try as we might. We cannot understand God through our own intellects. We cannot become one with God. Instead of human beings having to do these things, Lutheran spirituality teaches that God does them for us – He becomes one with us in Jesus Christ; He reveals Himself to our feeble understandings by his Word; He forgives our conduct and, in Christ, lives the perfect life for us.
What Vieth is arguing is that Christianity is truly different than any other approach to human life. Rather than us having to ascend to a higher power or greater plane of existence, through hard work or good behavior, God has instead come down to us. God has done the work for us in Christ. God has makes possible the path to salvation.
This sort of grace, while free, shouldn’t be seen as letting us off the hook. Having experienced life changing-grace, we are called to live changed lives. But the joy and hope of salvation, of life lived in God’s presence, of a Christ-like view of our world, have already been granted free-of-charge.
~Pastor Mike Middaugh
A Special Voters Assembly been scheduled for this Sunday, February 11th immediately following worship. At this brief meeting, leadership will be asking the congregation to approve a dollar amount goal for the Capital Campaign. Our Campaign Consultant, Mr. John Hewett will be on hand to help answer questions about setting the goal, as will our Campaign leaders. With your help, and through much prayer, we ask God to bless our work together in raising money for the purpose of including our facility, making it safer, more attractive and efficient, and accessible for all.
In an effort to build excitement and participation in our Sunday morning Bible Study class on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we have decided to call this book just “The Memo.” All are welcome and encouraged to join the 9am class. Child care is available.
The season of Lent begins on February 14th with the observance of Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday worship will be held at Calvary at 7:30pm with the imposition of ashes. Midweek Lenten services will be held through the season of Lent at 7:30pm in the Calvary chapel. Our Theme this year will be “A Journey through Easter Vigil: How an ancient, holy service teaches the whole story of Salvation.”