Yesterday, I was lent a copy of “The Lutheran Handbook,” a book published by Augsburg Fortress (a publishing ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Basically, the book is a light hearted “handbook” for how Lutherans live, breathe, and act. For instance, there is a section on “How to Stay Alert in Church” that provides some interesting suggestions like:
1. Get Adequate sleep.
2. Drink plenty of water, though not too much (the idea being that one bathroom break during church is permissible, but two isn’t)
3. Eat a high-protein breakfast.
4. Arrive early and find the coffee pot.
There were a couple of other suggestions on how to keep the eyelids from closing during church, including the ever popular pinching yourself on the soft flesh of your arm or leg. Other chapters include: “What to bring to the church potluck,” and “How to avoid getting burned at the stake.”
Of course, there were plenty of serious sections, including a review of some statements by Martin Luther. But the one section that really caught my eye dealt with the Lutheran understanding of salvation and how it is only by the grace of God that we Christians can be saved. Our works will never be sufficient to earn salvation; only the work of our Lord Jesus Christ at the cross is enough to pay the sin debt of the world. It is by God’s grace that we are forgiven of our sins. It is by God’s grace that He sends His Holy Spirit to build faith in our hearts. It is all about God’s grace, mercy, and love.
Grace – a wonderful word that is at the center of our lives as Christians.