Eric Metaxas · 416 pages
Rating: (1.2K votes)
“Luther’s room at the Wartburg contained a tiled oven for warmth, a simple desk and chair, of which he made ample use, and one especially curious object, likely a gift from Frederick, via Spalatin, though any letter in which it is referenced has been lost. It was the gargantuan vertebra of a whale, doubtless from the remains of a cetacean that had beached or washed up someplace very far away, probably on the coast of the North Sea. Whale bones were at that time prized for their healing powers, and one assumes that because Luther complained so regularly of the various maladies affecting him, Spalatin had found it and sent it along as a happy surprise and encouragement. And how could Luther help to have been cheered by something as outrageous and singular as this colossal white bone from a leviathan that once swam endless miles beneath the waves of a distant sea? Luther had never seen the ocean, and never would in his life, so the exotic quality of the object must have been all the greater.”
“To my dear wife, Katherine Luther, doctoress and self-tormentor at Wittenberg, my gracious lady, Grace and peace in the Lord! Read, dear Kathie [the Gospel of] John and [my] Small Catechism, of which you once said: Indeed, everything in this book is said about me. For you want to assume the cares of your God, just as if He were not almighty and were unable to create ten Dr. Martins if this old one were drowned in the Saale or suffocated in a stove. . . . Leave me in peace with your worrying! I have a better Caretaker than you and all the angels. He it is who lies in a manger and nurses at a virgin’s breast, but at the same time sits at the right hand of God, the almighty Father. Therefore be at rest. Amen.”
“Behold, the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, what it accomplishes while we are silent, suffer, and pray. Is not the word of Moses true: “You will be silent and the Lord will fight for you”?”
“Indeed, when Luther’s school-yard chum Hans Reinecke wrote to him of his father’s death, Luther wrote, “Seldom if ever have I despised death as much as I do now.” He said that it “has plunged me into deep sadness not only because he was my father but also because he loved me very much.” Even more, he says, “through him my creator has given me all that I am and have.”
“He who through faith is righteous shall live.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and”
“Müntzer, like all utopianists, was divorced from reality and wished to be so divorced, thinking the reality of this world as something to be fled as soon as possible. All political and religious reform movements are tempted in the direction of cultishness and violence, and at the time of Luther, Müntzer was the one who led this charge over the cliff.”
“Although I know full well and hear every day that many people think little of me and say that I only write little pamphlets and sermons in German for the uneducated laity, I do not let that stop me. Would to God that in my lifetime I had, to my fullest ability, helped one layman to be better!”
“God was all powerful and omniscient, and he alone defined truth and indeed was truth. But he did not assert that power in a way that ever smacked of power in the worldly sense. He had always and ever shown himself in weakness. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus died on the cross for those who had mocked and rejected him. God did not crush us but showed us mercy, and Luther could see that the church had not adopted this view, but had itself become wed to worldly power. It took money that was not its own and burned those who disagreed with what it taught. Luther was trying to call the church back to its true roots, to a biblical idea of a merciful God who did not demand that we obey but who first loved us and first made us righteous before he expected us to live righteously.”
“when Melanchthon recalled it, although, as we have said, he was not yet in Wittenberg when it happened, and was really only recounting the recollections of others who had been there. So when he did, he was speaking in the way so many of us do when remembering things: we aren’t telling an untruth but conflating things in a way that is not perfectly and literally accurate, specifically to make a larger point, and, as good fiction does, to tell a greater truth.”
“Luther was the unwitting harbinger of a new world in which the well-established boundaries of what was acceptable were exploded, never to be restored. Suddenly the individual had not only the freedom and possibility of thinking for himself but the weighty responsibility before God of doing so.”
“The coyotes sounded like hurt dogs. They agitated plainly for Christ's return. May they not be heard.”
“Okay,” she said. “You got me. I’m yours.”
“Forever,” she said.
And he said, “Everything.”
“I should probably warn you … I had a personal trainer once. He and I did not enjoy each other.”
“to play tomorrow since it’s a full moon, so let’s have some fun tonight.” Katie sat with a sigh. “The guys will be planning strategy for several hours, so we should have some peace and”
“You’re my reason, Deuce … You always have been.”
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