Luther got by with a little help from his friends....
Reformation! When we hear that word we immediately think of Luther. Indeed,translating the Bible, daring to question the way things had "always been done," and standing up against the authority of both Pope and Emperor to make reforms are why we are indebted to Luther. But he could not have done it alone. He got MORE than a little help from his friends, likeminded colleagues and collaborators and those who stood to benefit from a change in the way things always were.
Here are a few noteworthy friends and allies:
1) His elector (local ruler) Frederick the Wise provided safe haven for Luther after the Pope excommunicated him and the Emperor had put an edict against him.
2) Colleagues and collaborators in the Reformation, especially fellow professor and great writer and scholar Melanchthon and the priest at Wittenberg were invaluable in actually starting the reformations. Luther was hiding in Wartburg when the first worship in the German language took place. Melanchthon was the one who actually wrote and defended the Concord which helped to synthesize and organize the thought of the reformers.
3) Artists - especially Lucas Cranach - an artist who painted Luther and Katie but who also illustrated the works. Other artists and cartoonists helped to popularize the reforms by making some of Luther's points in editorial style cartoons. (Some of which were pretty pointed and freely used "dark" humor - i.e. they were not very nice to their opponents!.)
4) The German princes and electors had their own reasons (some selfishly wanting to grab the land and resources of the church for their own benefit)
5) The printing press - Luther's works and the cartoons and editorials of others -- were spread far and wide and Luther became the equivalent of a rock star.
Reformations and Revolutions are the work of lots of people. Often times, one man or woman needs to be willing to stand up for what they believe - and hope that others will follow. As we learned, there were other reformers who tried (John Hus for example a hundred years earlier - but he was burned at the stake in Konstance).
To give Luther credit, his training (as a lawyer and then as a monk and then a priest and professor) aided him greatly. His character as well - he was outspoken and confident -- allowed him to prevail upon others. But its also good to remember that those people we often put on a pedestal (Luther quite literally - see picture) and look up to, are there only by the Grace of God and the help of others.
So today I give thanks for you all - who have allowed me to take this time to walk in the footsteps of Luther and other "saints before" accompanied by my family. It has taken me some time to reflect on Luther and all that I have been taking in - but I give thanks for your patience.
Blessings and peace,