יום שישי, פברואר 16, 2007

 

What Lutherans believe

It all started with medlars. (That is explained in the post immediately before this one.) I happened to look up an old bible that was my mother's in order to try to understand different translations of a specific passage.

One never knows where reading the Bible might lead! In this case, it led me to a series of old programs from Lutheran church services, including my conformation* in 1975, and my baptismal certificate,** among many items my mother had left in this bible. (If I had ever opened it up before, it would have been a very long time ago.)

One item was a statement of Lutheran principles of faith, adapted from Luther's Augsburg Confession. I'm not about to type all 28, but the first four really struck me in terms of how far I have come from my Lutheran youth. (In truth, I am sure I never actually believed any of this.)

1. There is one God who is three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. All people are by nature sinful, and in need of new birth through Baptism.
3. Christ is truly divine and truly human.
4. No one can become righteous in God's sight by his own efforts, but solely through faith.
Wow. No offense to any of my Christian friends or family who may read this one day, but to me the idea that one can't become righteous through one's own efforts just strikes me as so wrong, as does the entire idea of original sin. (Let's not even get into the nature of God and Jesus of Nazareth!)

Of course, I knew in a general sense that these were the beliefs of the faith in which I was raised and which gave my dear late mother so much comfort. But, still, seeing them in print in something that my mother saved because it obviously had meaning to her was quite an eye-opener.

I can't ask my mother what she thinks about my "finding" Judaism, but I believe she would be happy to learn that I am not an atheist after all. However, the one living witness to the baptism knows of my conversion intention. I was very pleased that when I told my Godmother, one my mother's childhood friends, about my plans some time ago, she said, without a moment's hesitation, "I am all for that!"

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* I was re-reading this after posting, and saw this typo. Uh, confirmation. Or was this a "Freudian" typo??

** And a piece of white cloth with a cross embossed on it, which was in with my baptismal certificate. I can't claim to know what this is, as I have never witnessed a baptism (well, other than my own, which I don't exactly remember), but I gather that this was a key piece of the ritual through which I was "saved" of the sins I had simply on account of having been born. Ugh!

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Comments:
Was this post inspired by Martin Luther Day?
 
Good question, bz. Maybe it was, somewhere deep down!

Interestingly, that morning as I re-read the "Mountaintop" speech (my personal favorite of his), I was struck by how what he said about doing God's will with whatever time he had left on earth sounded so, well, Jewish.

(By the way, I am really delighted that bz has commented here. Come back often!)
 
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