When Martin Luther died, a piece of paper was found in his pocket. The last line said “We are beggars. This is true.” That may seem an odd, even hopeless, epitaph. However, it is far from hopeless if you know anything about Luther and his spiritual center. God’s grace – the unmerited, absolute love of God given freely – was the touchstone of Luther’s life. Once he saw clearly that God’s love was revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, he saw every breath and heartbeat as a gift of grace. His last words, found in his pocket, were a perfect and concise creed for Luther. I have appropriated them as my own. I am a beggar. This is true.
My offerings here will be about my “take” on that creed: Witness to the grace I “take,” appropriate, receive from God; reflections on my “take,” – my perceptions and reflections on what that means. I pray that my “take” is some bit of grace for you.
Feel free to ask a question or leave a note. The peace of Christ be with you!
Timothy V. Olson— Husband, father, pastor, beggar, full-time saint, full-time sinner.
- Lead Pastor for Mission & Vision at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Ankeny, Iowa
- Doctor of Ministry in Preaching, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2004
- Master of Sacred Theology, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 1998
- Master of Divinity, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 1996
- Bachelor of Arts, Western Illinois University
- Personal Mission: To share Jesus Christ with those who don’t know they need him and teach Jesus Christ to those who can’t live without him.
2 thoughts on “About Beggar’s Take”
I’d like to get a clear understanding of the term “Psalter.” I’ve heard it described as the Book of Psalms, but according to the Princeton University Library, it is “distinct, bibliographically, from the Biblical Book of Psalms.” I read that Martin Luther had a personal Psalter (I imagine it worn and dog-eared) and am curious to know what the book was like that he was using.
Hi Jane! Great question. My understanding is that “The Book of Psalms” refers to the 150 psalms contained in the Bible. A Psalter is a collection from those songs printed separately for use in worship or prayer. A Psalter may have just a portion of the whole book (psalms of thanksgiving, for instance) or contain all of them. Psalters are often marked for singing by the community with a kind of “punctuation” that informs the community when to change tones. Does that help?