Yesterday was the commemoration of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. Now, I am one of those geek types who actually read this thing years before I went to seminary. Why, you might ask, would I want to do that? Well, I was curious. I had heard about this book pastors talked about called The Book of Concord. When I would ask about it, the only answer I would get was "Now, the pastors have to study this when they are in seminary -- but it's nothing that YOU have to worry about." So of course, I wanted to see what this book was all about!
But I didn't really, I mean really, read the Augsburg Confession until I was questioning my faith, and what the Lutheran Church really taught, and if it was something that held up even in the worst of times. (And at that point in my life, it felt like the worst of times.) The Holy Spirit has quite the sense of humor, I believe, because the Augsburg Confession didn't come across as a pile of dry-as-dust teachings. It was ALIVE! And suddenly, I GOT IT! Justification through grace alone through faith alone through Christ alone was truly good news. Jesus had done it all; I really didn't have to a thing, not one single solitary blessed thing. How was I to respond to such an overwhelming gift? That was the real question, and one I am still trying to live out nearly 30 years later.
The Augsburg Confession changed my life. So, thank you, Melancthon, and Luther, and all those who were brave enough, and foolhardy enough, to trust in God's protection as they went up against all the forces of state and church in presenting this document. We are still reaping the benefits of this great gift.