Wednesday, September 22, 2010
There is a scene in the movie "Luther" where the title character requests a visit with Frederick the Wise. Frederick was personally responsible for saving Luther's life, when the Pope had finally had enough of his writings against the church, by hiding him away at the Wartburg Castle. Frederick was a collector of relics which he thought were highly valuable - pieces of the cross, chalices that Jesus had drank from, skulls of dead popes - things like that. Through Luther's teaching, writings and rants, he came to realize that his relics were worthless and the sight of them represented a lifetime of trying to buy God's favor, as well as others trying to buy his allegiance.
While in Wartburg, Luther began translating the New Testament into German. In the scene I am referring to, Luther meets Frederick face to face and gives him the scriptures in his own language. This elderly man understood that in his hands he held a history changer - the Word of God in the hands of the common man would forever change the church and the world. He trembled with fear at what fury Luther would bring upon himself, but accepted the gift. Then with the joy of a child in a candy store, he opened the cover.
Whether or not this is a true account, it got me thinking. How could I possibly live without the Word of God? How different would my life be if I couldn't read it, study it, pray with it for myself?
Wow. Hard for me to imagine. Scary even.
So, I thanked the Lord for the men who translated the Word into the vernacular, who gave up their life so that I could sit and study and teach women's Bible study from my home.
I thanked the Lord for the men who printed the Word in secret, off crude presses, in secluded places at the risk of death so that I could sit and study and teach women's Bible study from my home.
I thanked the Lord for men and women who died hiding the Word in their homes, when owning a common language Bible was illegal, so that I could sit and study and teach women's Bible study from my home.
And then I wondered what risk I would be willing to take to spread the Word...