top of page


March 19, 2023



What? Or Why?

What do we believe? Our Lutheran heritage is rooted in theological debate, and such conversations have always been a part of our tradition. Disagreements about theological propositions and biblical interpretations have led to split after split among Lutheran church bodies and congregations. At the same time, our theological and biblical commitments have led us to seek the unity of the church with mergers among

Lutheran denominations and with common communion agreements with our ecumenical neighbors. In our broader culture it also seems that theology often leads the way in conversations about faith. Theological principles from various religious communities are used to argue for or against laws, corporate practices, and cultural expectations.

In today’s gospel story we find something different leading the way: the blind man’s experience of the healing power of Jesus. This experience is at odds with the theological thought of the religious leaders. The narrative reads like a trial, one in which the primary witness is hostile to the line of questioning from the prosecution. The conversations the leaders have with the man and his parents are a mess of misunderstanding that leads to insult and accusation. They are talking about theology; he and his parents are talking about experience. No one is there to translate between the two.

Why do you believe? Our understandings of God are certainly shaped by the communities of which we have been a part and theologies we have learned. Yet, God’s grace is not something we logic our way through; it is something we experience. The early church debated all sorts of theological positions, but their witness was grounded in their experience of death and resurrection. What we believe is important, but as we step into each day as witnesses of God’s love for the world, why we believe may be the most hope-filled message we have to share.



Copyright © 2022 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

The Readings in the Bible

John 9:1-41

In John’s gospel, Jesus performs seven signs that demonstrate his divine status. The sixth is Jesus’ healing the man born blind. Jesus’ words indicate that the physical healing functions as a metaphor for spiritual awakening, for Jesus is the light. The conversation that follows the healing evidences the debate at the close of the first century between the Christian movement and the Jewish synagogue authorities. In an example of Johannine metaphor, it is mud that clarifies.


1 Samuel 16:1-13

Compiled from several different sources, some of which are positive and some negative concerning the Davidic monarchy, the book of 1 Samuel took shape probably around 700 bce. The story of the prophet Samuel choosing the shepherd boy David as the next king is reminiscent of many folk tales: contrary to the cultural expectation of male primogeniture, it is the youngest boy who wins. The anointing is an ancient practice that symbolizes the transfer of divine blessing, as the Spirit of God grants the boy the authority necessary for kingship.

Ephesians 5:8-14

Noticeably different especially in rhetorical style from the undisputed Pauline letters and probably written in the late first century, Ephesians is to some degree a summary of Paul’s theology: salvation is a gift of God’s grace offered through Jesus Christ, and believers, who are one in Christ, are to live out their gratitude so as to build up the community of the faithful. This selection from Ephesians uses light as a metaphor for Christ’s transformative power within the believing community.

bottom of page