Martin Luther, righteous King,
made the Reformation sing.
Popes and peasants, out of key
turned it into misery.
German beer and Roman crimes
made for most uncivil times
much like our own. We must confess
rights and wrongs we yet possess…
Half a millennium later on
a Baptist pastor and his son
took this noble Saxon name
and furthered the Reformer’s fame.
Some revisionists deny
St. Martin Luther’s role, and try
to minimize theology
in civil rights chronology.
The second Luther of my song
inspired—but did not last as long.
Social Justice notwithstanding,
King’s successors need re-branding.
Politicians steal his mantle,
cloak their lies in his example;
agitators claim his glory
editing God out of the story;
educators sing his praises
but some people’s conduct raises
doubts about that dream of King—
and hope… and change… and everything.
HAPPY REFORMATION DAY 2013!
ALL SAINTS ! ALL ! OCTOBER 31 (1517)
95 THESES on the WITTENBERG WALL !
LONG LIVE St. Martin LUTHER
Servant of God, Community Organizer
and Change Agent in the cause of LIBERTY
Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences
by Dr. Martin Luther (1517)
Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light,
the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg,
under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther,
Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
Luther walks forth in yon majestic frame,
Bright beam of heaven, and heir of endless fame,
Born, like thyself, thro toils and griefs to wind,
From slavery’s chains to free the captive mind,
Brave adverse crowns, control the pontiff sway,
And bring benighted nations into day.
Remark what crowds his name around him brings,
Schools, synods, prelates, potentates and kings,
All gaining knowledge from his boundless store,
And join’d to shield him from the papal power.
First of his friends, see Frederic’s princely form
Ward from the sage divine the gathering storm,
In learned Wittemburgh secure his seat,
High throne of thought, religion’s safe retreat.
There sits Melancthon, mild as morning light,
And feuds, tho sacred, soften in his sight;
In terms so gentle flows his tuneful tongue,
Even cloister’d bigots join the pupil throng;
By all sectarian chiefs he lives approved,
By monarchs courted and by men beloved…
from: The Columbiad, Book IV by Joel Barlow
Beyond LUTHER HERE
Because his Christian father so esteemed
that German protester who dismissed the pope,
His name reached heights few would have ever dreamed
In our days of easy change and godless hope.
A posthumous nation drones: yes we can,
forgetting he was a Baptist preacher
a theologian—perhaps Republican . . .
I remember him as a scriptural teacher
Calling his country back to God. The haters
closed their hearts to the righteous prophetic word
(as today’s deck-shuffling race baiters).
Many who play that card still haven’t heard