“When God contemplates some great work, he begins it by the hand of some poor, weak, human creature, to whom he afterwards gives aid, so that the enemies who seek to obstruct it, are overcome.” – Martin Luther- Table Talks LXIX
Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
We are in the 500th year the reformation. Luther and his 5 Solas are remembered and are being preached across the globe. Praise God, and pray that these will pave way for a regaining these convictions for our times. Yet another significant development around the reformation was Luther’s Open Home, that challenged the celibate clerical domination of their times. Till then, priests were not married. “Their home”, writes E G Rupp (a reformation scholar), “became a more effective apologic for marriage of the clergy than any writing, and the prototype of a Christian Minister’s Home” Katharine was no passive onlooker, but together they formed a partnership that shaped the course of history with the effects of reformation in varied arenas.
At some point, copies of Luther’s fiery pamphlets attacking celibacy and monastic orders may have inspired Katharine and others to reject their vows and leave their convent. Luther worked with a local merchant to engineer a daring night-time rescue for nine such nuns on an Easter Eve, on April 7, 1523 (at a time when removing a nun from a convent was an offense punishable by death). While the eight other nuns got married, the older among them, Katharine couldn’t find a suitable match. Luther was not keen on marriage, as he thought it will risk someone (as the Roman Empire and the Roman church were chasing to kill him). He said that to Katharine, however, in God’s amazing ways Martin Luther and Katharine took marriage vows on June 13, 1525.
What next? How can a hiding pastor’s family survive? They were given an abandoned monastery, which she turned as a paying guest hostel for students of the nearby Wittenburg University. Feeding around 40 students was not easy, yet with the vegetable farming in the available land, an open home enterprise budded and grew…
The Luthers’ 21-year marriage was an arrangement unusual for their times. While Luther spent his time teaching, preaching, and writing, Katharine worked tirelessly with several home based businesses, turning the former monastery to a hostel, dormitory, and conference center. Further, she invested the income in a growing portfolio that eventually included larger farms, multiple gardens, fish ponds, and fruit orchards. Over the years, as letters and account books show, the Luthers owned quite a lot of livestock and provided livelihoods to several people.
As the Reformation movement spread across Europe, the house that Katharine ran became its epicenter. After dinner, Luther, Katharine, and the students discussed theology, politics and so on that almost became the framework of the Reformation to penetrate further to different fields. Her presence at Luther’s “table talks” was unusual (as women were usually excluded from such discussions during that time). By the way, these beautiful informal talks are published as Luther’s Table Talks.
In addition to her busy life tending to the businesses and ministry in and around her home, Katharine bore six children: Hans, Elizabeth, Magdalena (who died at thirteen years), Martin, Paul and Margarete. In addition the Luthers also raised four orphan children. Life was not easy for them as they suffered sorrowful times with the early deaths of two of their children, etc.
Luther sometimes referred to his wife as Wittenberg’s “morning star,” up earlier than anyone else in town to manage a staff of nearly a dozen servants, look after their six children, and manage the equivalent of a mid-sized company. In true sense, she was a woman that reminds us of Proverbs 31. Katharine’s businesses too were trendsetting to the history that followed the reformation, as Vishal Mangalwadi describes of her as the woman behind Europe’s economic success (https://youtu.be/GcN_D4AEMhw) in his Truth Matters series.
Reformation led her to discover a new identity in Christ and that propelled her to do these amazing things for the Lord, turning disappointments to opportunities, and remaining faithful until death, stating at death bed “Ï will cling to Christ like a burr to a coat”. Let us pray that we too in our generation will emulate these examples and become answers to the struggles of our present-day generation.
On Finances, as you are aware of, summer months are tough with a number of training projects. April 2018 fund flow was not good. To end May 2018 without any shortfalls, we would require 64L as detailed below.
Kindly be in earnest prayers for 64L in April, so that we can move without deficits right from the first months. Let us pray and participate as the Lord leads each of us..
Joyfully, with you in Christ
Reji. K. Daniel
April 2018 Treasurer letter – Let us declare a Wow- War on Wastages – was superb. Though your previous letters have dealt with similar thoughts, this time you penned it with sharp words. It made me to think, so want to share it
A senior lady staff