Dr & Mrs Luther

Posted on 15th September 2020 under The Rectory Bulletin | Church History


By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

Last week I wrote of the escape of Katie von Bora, and her eventual marriage to Luther, the great reformer. He was, for his time, an older man when he was married and this whole business of having a wife was strange. He wrote:

Man has strange thoughts the first year of marriage. When sitting at table he thinks, ‘Before I was alone; now there are two.’ Or in bed, when he wakes up, he sees a pair of pigtails lying beside him which he hadn't seen there before. On the other hand, wives bring to their husbands, no matter how busy they may be, a multitude of trivial matters. So my Katy used to sit next to me at first while I was studying hard and would spin and ask, ‘Doctor, is the grandmaster the margrave’s brother?’

At one time, Katie felt they were not spending enough time talking to each other, so she gave him a present: a door frame. Built into each side was a small stool so that they could sit and talk, and over time Luther began to appreciate his wife, though, affectionally calling her “my Lord Katie. Augustine had seen mutual help and companionship as important elements of marriage, and this was writ large in Martin and Katie’s house (which was, ironically, an old convent). She ran the home, brewing beer and selling cattle, whilst Luther taught and wrote.

They had six children together, but not all survived. Even in such difficult circumstance the family’s great faith shone. Remembering their time around Luther’s dinner table, his students remembered:

Often he Martin Luther repeated the words given above. “I’d like to keep my dear daughter because I love her very much, if only our Lord God would let me. However, his will be done! Truly nothing better can happen to her, nothing better.” While she was still living he often said to her, “Dear daughter, you have another Father in heaven. You are going to go to him.” Philip Melanchthon said, “The feelings of parents are a likeness of divinity impressed upon the human character. If the love of God for the human race is as great as the love of parents for their children, then it is truly great and ardent.”

The life of the Luthers reminds us of the great truth that the home is a little church. God does not simply reside in old stone buildings, but lives in our homes. A great comfort that can be.

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