Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Faithfulness (Deuteronomy 32:3–4)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Thursday, 16 March 2017

Week 3: Salvation—Not for Sale

Week 3, Day 5

“A Mighty Fortress is our God (1529),” verse 2, Martin Luther

Did we in our own strength confide, 

our striving would be losing, 

were not the right man on our side, 

the Man of God’s own choosing. 

You ask who that may be? 

Christ Jesus, it is he; 

Lord Sabaoth, his name, 

from age to age the same, 

and he must win the battle.

Faithfulness (Deuteronomy 32:3–4)

Martin Junge, Lutheran, Chile

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he; 

It is not because of who you are or what you do, but because of who God is and what God does that new life is offered to you, for free and as a gift. This is how I used to convey the core message of justification by faith alone, the theological breakthrough that the Reformation in the sixteenth century articulated and put at the center of its theological system. With its sober self-awareness about the limitations of human nature, which only the eyes of faith can bring forth, it focuses on what again only the eyes of faith recognize as God’s intention to bring salvation into this broken world. In such an approach, Christ becomes the center in which God’s intention to bring salvation are both articulated and achieved—so that all may live. In and with Christ, God’s justice is placed in a totally different context. This runs so deeply counter to how human beings tend to understand justice: it is the empty-handed, those crying for compassion and mercy, who are healed and incorporated into new life because of their faith.

In and with Christ, “faithfulness” also becomes recognizable as a fundamental and permanent feature in God’s relationships with the created world, including us human beings.

It is this faithfulness that Moses grasped while singing praises to the Lord (Deut 32:3–4). He does so while looking ahead, seeing the contours of God’s promises becoming clear and tangible, and looking back, understanding the ups and downs of a long journey from the perspective of God’s promises. Placed in this rich moment so full of history and an anticipated future—a meaningful description of how believers may want to understand every day of their lives—it is the concept of faithfulness that emerges as the one carrying Moses’ existence. This explains the red thread that has led it throughout. God is faithful. Not because of who we are and what we do, but because of who God is and what God does.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”