Carpe Verbum! Sieze the Word while it may be found!
The annual thanksgiving and praise we offer to our Lord for the blessing of Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel at the time of the Reformation must always drive us first to our knees in repentance and plea that God would forgive our shallow thankfulness and our lack of faithfulness to His Holy Gospel, both in our lives personally, and in our life as a Church. We do well to mark well Luther’s prophetic warning:
Let us remember our former misery, and the darkness in which we dwelt. Germany, I am sure, has never before heard so much of God’s word as it is hearing today; certainly we read nothing of it in history. If we let it just slip by without thanks and honor, I fear we shall suffer a still more dreadful darkness and plague. O my beloved Germans, buy while the market is at your door; gather in the harvest while there is sunshine and fair weather; make use of God’s grace and word while it is there! For you should know that God’s word and grace is like a passing shower of rain which does not return where it has once been. It has been with the Jews, but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have nothing. Paul brought it to the Greeks; but again when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the Turk. Rome and the Latins also had it; but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the pope. And you Germans need not think that you will have it forever, for ingratitude and contempt will not make it stay. Therefore, seize it and hold it fast, whoever can; for lazy hands are bound to have a lean year.
Martin Luther, vol. 45, Luther’s Works, Vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works, 45:352 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999, c1962).