In 1986 (or maybe 1985) when I was studying Church History at the Unification Theological Seminary, I had a course in Modern Church History. One of the things we studied was the Reformation.
The seminary was a wonderful experience. Barrytown, New York was a beautiful site along the Hudson river. In a prayerful environment I was able to study and discuss sacred texts and the writings of thinkers and scholars of many religions. Sometimes, thanks to the grace of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I experience illumination as I read certain works.
Such was my experience when I read some of the works of the “young” Martin Luther, especially his work “On Christian Liberty,” which he addressed to Pope Leo X in 1520.
Much study is wearisome to the flesh. So one day during this time, as I was waiting for a shuttle to take me into nearby Red Hook, I decided to rest my eyes for a few moments. I slipped into that state between waking and sleeping.
As I was sitting there, with my eyes closed, still conscious but not fully aware of my external surroundings, I sensed a man standing just behind my right shoulder. The visual aspect was very vague. I could see him but not clearly.
There was a mutual acknowledgement that this was Martin Luther. It wasn’t a question for me as to whether this was really Martin Luther or not. It was an interesting non-ordinary phenomena.
“Ah, Martin Luther,” I thought.
Then the mental apparition spoke.
“When I was on earth, I taught salvation by faith, but if I were alive today, I would teach salvation by love.”
Was this really Martin Luther? I don’t know, but the message makes sense.
Jesus taught people to “love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” and to “love others as yourself.” He said that all the law and all the commandments are summed up in these two.
Jesus also taught “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
At a church pot luck on Sunday, I asked the woman across from me “What does it mean to be pure in heart”
She answered that she felt that it meant to be loving
That reminded of a time I was sitting in a hot springs by the Pit River at Big Bend on a beautiful day gazing at the river streaming by.
“Let love flow through you so that you’re heart may be pure,” the river said.
Let love flow through you
so that your heart may be pure
so that you may see God and experience the oneness
so that you may love others as yourself
Then you will know the Truth
and the Truth will set you free.
Salvation through Love.