Every year, the North American Lutheran Church gathers for Lutheran Week! The week is more than a conference, more than a church festival and much more than a business meeting. The NALC Lutheran Week is all of that and more! This year’s theme is God the Father Creates.
The 2020 Lutheran Week of the North American Lutheran Church will draw our attention to the person of God, the Father. Continuing the six-year cycle focusing on the persons and work of the Holy Trinity, the Braaten-Benne Lecture series, the NALC Mission Festival and Convocation will each aspire to point to the nature and being of God, the Father, who is creator of heaven and earth!
Lutherans will necessarily remember Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, affirming the first article of the Apostle’s Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
And the subsequent question: What does this mean?
The Catechism explains:
I believe that God has made me and all that exists. He has given me and still preserves my body and soul with all their powers. He provides me with food and clothing, home and family, daily work, and all I need from day to day. God also protects me in time of danger and guards me from every evil. All this he does out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I surely ought to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true. (The Small Catechism, Martin Luther, Augsburg/Fortress, 1979.)
At first glance, Luther’s explanation of this article appears to focus attention on the “work” of God the Father, that He has made me and all creatures, providing for us richly and daily with all that we need! The Father does all this, however, because of who He is—because it is His nature not only to create, but also to provide, and all this, He does, “out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it.”
Dr. Luther was always careful to emphasize that all we have and are, indeed, our justification and eternal salvation are not because of us and our words or deeds, but solely the proper work of God, growing out of the heart and being of God. For God the Father not only creates, but also redeems and sanctifies us, through the gift of His Son and Holy Spirit. Luther writes in the Large Catechism:
He has created us for this very purpose, to redeem and sanctify us. Moreover, having bestowed upon us everything in heaven and on earth, he has given us his Son and his Holy Spirit, through whom he brings us to himself. As we explained before, we could never come to recognize the Father’s favor and grace were it not for the Lord Christ, who is a mirror of the Father’s heart. Apart from him we see nothing but an angry and terrible judge. (Apostle’s Creed, Article III, Book of Concord, Tappert, Fortress Press, 1959)
As we focus on the person, nature and being of God the Father, we understand Him fully through the Lord Jesus Christ, mirror of the Father’s heart, revealed by the Holy Spirit, because of the Father’s divine goodness and mercy! Join us for Lutheran Week 2020!