On April 18, 1521, at the Imperial Diet (governmental assembly) in Worms, Germany, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, pending being convinced by Scripture or clear reason of any error, famously answered the emperor’s request that Luther take back his writings, likely including his 1517 Ninety-five Theses against the Preachers of Indulgences, by taking a stand on them and invoking God’s help. All of us likewise should invoke God’s help and take our stands on the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, confessing our sins and the Christian faith whenever and wherever we are.
In this 500th anniversary of the Reformation year, Luther’s words “Here I Stand” were the theme of a Higher Things regional youth conference that several youth of our congregation and I attended with hundreds of others last week in San Antonio. And, Luther’s words “Here I Stand” are the theme of the Vacation Bible School (VBS) that our congregation and our sister congregation from Longview are now planning for July 16-20, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Pilgrim (preceded by a light supper beginning at 5:00 p.m.). All are welcome to attend! (See our website listed below for more details.)
Jesus calls and enables us to take such stands, confessing our sins and the Christian faith before other people, with the promise that He will confess us before His Father in heaven, as He says, for example, in Matthew 10:32-33. There, the Greek verb for “confess” has to do with saying the same thing. In His Word, God says that we are sinners, and we say it back to Him. Similarly, God says—and so we say—that Jesus is true God and man, that He has died on the cross for the sins of the whole world, and that He forgives us through His Word and Sacraments.
Martin Luther realized the importance of his “stand”, and we should, too: nothing less than our eternal life is at stake. Come for our all-ages VBS to learn about our confessing sins and faith in God, God’s forgiving us, and our forgiving one another.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.