Vocation: Where Liturgy and Ethics Meet

[1] “The supper is ended. Oh, now be extended the fruits of this service in all who believe” (LW 247). Omer Westendorf’s popular hymn accents the linkage between the Lord’s Supper and our life in the world. The words of the hymn are echoed in the Introduction to Lutheran Worship where we are told “Our Lord gives us his body to eat and his blood to drink. Finally his blessing moves us into our calling, where his gifts have their fruition.”1 Indeed, this is “the liturgy after the liturgy,”2 to use the helpful phrase that Carter Lindberg borrowed from the Eastern tradition.

[2] The liturgy is not about our cultic activity; it is God who is giving gifts in sermon and sacrament to the people that has gathered together in God’s name. Oswald Bayer notes “Worship is first and last God’s service to us, his sacrifice which took place for us, which he bestows in specific worship – ‘Take and eat! I am here for you’ (cf. 1 Cor. 11:24 with Gen.2:16). This feature of worship is lost if we want to do as a work what we may receive as a gift.” 3Here Bayer reflects Article IV of the Apology as it confesses “Faith is that worship which receives the benefits that God offers; the righteousness of the law is that worship which offers to God our own merits. God wants to be honored by faith so that we receive from him those things that he promises and offers” (AP IV:49, Kolb/Wengert, 128). In Lutheran liturgical theology, God is the subject rather than the object. Christ is the donor and benefactor. He gives his gifts to be received by faith alone.

[3] Rome had reversed the flow, making the Supper into a sacrifice to be offered, a work to be performed, rather than a gift to be received. Lutheran theology distinguishes between God’s beneficium and man’s sacrificium. To confuse the two is to muddle law and Gospel. This is at the heart of the critique of the Roman Mass in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology. Luther and the Confessions understood liturgy not as the work of the priest or the people but the very work of God as he comes to serve the church with the gifts of redemption won on the cross and now distributed in word and sacrament.

[4] Salvation’s accomplishment on Calvary and its delivery from font, pulpit, and altar are the work of God. This Luther confesses in the Large Catechism: “Neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe in him and receive him as Lord, unless these were first offered to us and bestowed on our hearts through the preaching of the gospel by the Holy Spirit. The work is finished and completed; Christ has acquired and won the treasure for us by his sufferings, death, and resurrection, etc. But if the work remained hidden so that no one knew of it, it would have all been in vain, all lost. In order that this treasure might not be buried but be put to use and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to be published and proclaimed, in which he has given the Holy Spirit to offer and apply to us this treasure, this redemption” (LC II:38, Kolb/Wengert, 436). All of this is beneficium, gift. Faith clings to the gift, drawing its life from the bounty of God’s mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. He is the servant, the liturgist, in the Divine Service.

[5] Sacrificium, on the other hand, is the work of human beings. Luther rejected the Roman understanding of the mass as sacrifice because it was built on a presumption that God could be placated by man’s efforts. This Luther deemed to be idolatrous. In the Large Catechism he writes “This is the greatest idolatry that we have practiced up to now, and it is still rampant in the world. All the religious orders are founded upon it. It involves only that conscience that seeks help, comfort, and salvation in its own works and presumes to wrest heaven from God. It keeps track of how often it has made endowments, fasted, celebrated Mass etc. It relies on such things and boasts of them, unwilling to receive anything as a gift of God, but desiring to earn everything by itself or merit everything by works of supererogation, just as if God were in our service or debt and we were his liege lords” (LC I:22, Kolb/Wengert, 388). It was this conviction that compelled Luther to reform the mass canon so that God’s speaking and giving were clearly distinct from the church’s praying.

[6] Luther has not been without his critics. Yngve Brilioth judged Luther to be one-sided in his focus on the gift of the forgiveness of sins, while ignoring or downplaying such themes as thanksgiving, communion, commemoration, eucharistic sacrifice, and mystery.4 More recently, Eugene Brand opined that Luther’s liturgical surgery left the patient disfigured.5 It took an Anglican scholar, Bryan Spinks to save Luther from the Lutherans as he demonstrated that Luther’s revisions were a thoughtful unfolding of the liturgical implications of the doctrine of justification.6

[7] The faithful come to church not to give but to receive. Luther gives doxological expression to this in stanza four of his catechetical hymn, “Here Is the Tenfold Sure Command” (LW 331): “And put aside the work you do, So God may work in you. Have mercy, Lord!”

[8] Vilmos Vatja explains:

In no sense is this worship a preparatory stage which faith could ultimately leave behind. Rather faith might be defined as the passive cult (cultus passivus) because in this life it will always depend on the worship by which God imparts Himself – a gift granted to the believing congregation.
This is confirmed in Luther’s Explanation of the Third Commandment. To him Sabbath rest means more than a pause from work. It should be an opportunity for God to do His work on man. God wants to distract man from his daily toil and so open him to God’s gifts. To observe Sabbath is not a good work which man could offer to God. On the contrary it means pausing from all our works and letting God do his work in us and for us.

Thus Luther’s picture of the Sabbath is marked by the passivity of man and the activity of God. And it applies not only to certain holy days on the calendar, but to the Christian life in its entirety, testifying to man’s existence as a creature of God who waits by faith for the life to come. Through God’s activity in Christ, man is drawn into the death and resurrection of the Redeemer and is so recreated a new man in Christ. The Third Commandment lays on us no obligations for specific works of any kind (not even spiritual or cultic works) but rather directs us to the work of God. And we do not come into contact with the latter except in the Service, where Christ meets us in the means of grace.7

[9] Lutherans are rightly uncomfortable with the slogan made popular after the Second Vatican Council that “liturgy is the work of the people.” Liturgy does not consist in our action, but the work of God who stoops down to give us gifts that we cannot obtain for ourselves. Does the passivity of the Lutheran definition leave no room for worship? Does not the Small Catechism bid us to “thank, praise, serve, and obey” God? If God serves us sacramentally, do we not also serve God sacrificially?

[10] To address these questions, we turn to the post-communion collect that Luther included in his 1526 Deutsche Messe: “We give thanks to you, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore you that of your mercy you would strengthen us through the same in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”8

[11] In this collect, Luther gives doxological expression to a theological proposition that he had made six years earlier in “The Freedom of the Christian” where he argued “. . . that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and the neighbor. . . . He lives in Christ through faith, and in his neighbor through love” (AE 31:371). The existence of the old Adam is focused on self. The old Adam is curved in on himself, to use the imagery of Luther. This egocentric existence stands in contrast to the life of the new man in Christ. The new man lives outside of himself for his calling is to faith in Christ and love for the neighbor. Thus Luther continues “By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor” (AE 31:371). Faith is active in love and so takes on flesh and blood in service to the neighbor just as Christ became incarnate not to be served, but to give himself in service to the world.

[12] The post-communion collect has a pivotal place in the liturgy. It is the hinge that connects God’s service to us in the sacrament with our service to the neighbor in the world. This thought is also demonstrated in Luther’s hymnody. In his hymn on the Lord’s Supper, ” O Lord, We Praise You” (LW 238), Luther confesses the blessings bestowed by God in the body and blood of his Son in the first two stanzas. The final stanza is a prayer that the sacrament might be fruitful in the lives of those who have received the Lord’s testament:

May God bestow on us his grace and favor
To please him with our behavior
And live together here in love and union,
Nor repent this blest communion.
O Lord, have mercy!
Let not your good spirit forsake us,
But heavenly minded he make us.
Give your Church, Lord, to see
Days of peace and unity.
O Lord, have mercy!
[13] Luther also translated and revised a fifteenth century hymn generally attributed to John Hus, “Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior” (LW -237).99 The ninth stanza of his hymn expresses the thought that the sacrament both nourishes faith and causes love to flourish: “Let this food your faith nourish, That by love its fruits may flourish, And your neighbor learn from you, How much God’s wondrous love can do.”

[14] Luther’s understanding of vocation is consistent with his liturgical theology. God serves us sacramentally in the Divine Service as we receive his benefactions by faith, and we serve God sacrificially as we give ourselves to the neighbor in love. The communio of the sacrament exhibits both faith and love according to Luther. “This fellowship is twofold: on the one hand we partake of Christ and all saints; on the other hand we permit all Christians to be partakers of us, in whatever way they are able”(AE 35:67) writes Luther in 1519. In his 1526 treatise, “The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ – Against the Fanatics,” Luther is more pointed: “For it is necessary for each one to know that Christ has given his body, flesh, and blood on the cross to be our treasure and to help us receive the forgiveness of sins, that is, that we may be saved, redeemed from death and hell. That is the first principle of Christian doctrine. It is presented to us in the words, and his body and blood are given to us to be received corporeally as token and confirmation of this fact. To be sure, he did it only once, carrying it out and achieving it on the cross; but he causes it each day anew to be set before us, distributed and poured out through preaching, and he orders us to remember and never forget him. The second principle is love. . . . As he gives himself to us with his body and blood in order to redeem us from our misery, so ought we too give ourselves with might and mane for our neighbor” (AE 36:352) (emphasis mine).

[15] For Luther, the distinction between faith and love is necessary both in liturgy and vocation. In the liturgy, faith receives the gifts of Christ. In vocation, love gives to the neighbor even as Christ has given himself to us. The distinction between faith and love lies behind the discussion of sacrifice in Article XXIV of the Apology. The Apology notes that there are two kinds of sacrifice. First of all, there is the atoning sacrifice, the sacrifice of propitiation whereby Christ made satisfaction for the sins of the world. This sacrifice has achieved reconciliation between God and humanity and so merits the forgiveness of sins. The other type of sacrifice is the eucharistic sacrifice. It does not merit forgiveness of sins nor does it procure reconciliation with God but is rather a sacrifice of thanksgiving. According to Article XXIV of the Apology, eucharistic sacrifices include “the preaching of the gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the affliction of the saints, indeed all the good works of the saints. These sacrifices are not satisfactions for those who offer them, nor can they be applied to others so as to merit the forgiveness of sins or reconciliation for others ex opere operato. They are performed by those who are already reconciled” (AP XXIV:24, Kolb/Wengert, 262).

[16] Luther and the early Lutherans did not do away with the category of sacrifice. Luther relocated sacrifice. He removed it from the altar and repositioned it in the world. Sacrifice was offered to God indirectly through service to the neighbor. This is “the liturgy after the liturgy.” God’s gifts given us sacramentally in the Divine Service now bear fruit sacrificially as we go back into the world to thank, praise, serve and obey the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. “The whole of a Christian’s life is liturgical life,”10 writes William Willimon .

[17] This understanding of sacrifice reflects Romans 12 where Paul writes “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). In the ancient world, everyone knew that a sacrifice was dead. The sacrificial victim was slaughtered. To the ears of those who first heard the Apostle’s letter, the term “living sacrifice” would have struck them as strange, as an oxymoron. Yet Paul is purposeful in his use of this imagery. The body of the Christian is rendered unto God as a living sacrifice, for the Christian has been joined to the death of Jesus in baptism. Plunged into Jesus’ saving death in baptism, we now share in his resurrection from the grave (cf. Romans 6:11). Baptism is the foundation for the Christian life of sacrifice.

[18] Vilmos Vatja writes “The Christian brings his sacrifice as he renders the obedience, offers the service, and provides the love which his work and calling require of him. The old man dies as he spends himself for his fellowmen. But in his surrender of self, he is joined to Christ and obtains a new life. The work of the Christian in his calling becomes a function of his priesthood, his bodily sacrifice. His work in the calling is a work of faith, the worship of the kingdom of the world.”11 The sacrifices offered by the royal priesthood are the “spiritual sacrifices” noted in 1 Peter 2:5, “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” These spiritual sacrifices are what the Apology calls “eucharistic sacrifices” and they embrace all that the believer does in love toward the neighbor flowing from faith in Christ.

[19] Spiritual sacrifices are rendered in the bodily life of the believer as his or her life is a channel of God’s love and care for the neighbor in need. These sacrifices do not merit salvation or make a person righteous, but rather express love for the neighbor. God is not in need of our good works, but the neighbor is in need of our work. Freed from the notion that we must make ourselves good in order to earn eternal life, the Christian is directed toward the neighbor’s wellbeing. In “The Freedom of the Christian,” Luther writes, “Although the Christian is thus free from all works, he ought in this liberty to empty himself, take upon himself the form of a servant, be made in the likeness of men, be found in human form, and to serve, help and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him” (AE 31:366).

[20] Here the Christian is the larvae dei, the mask of God, by which God gives daily bread to the inhabitants of the world. In this sense, the Christian is a “little Christ” to the neighbor. Again in “The Freedom of a Christian,” Luther writes: “Just as our neighbor is in need and lacks that in which we abound, so we were in need before God and lacked his mercy. Hence, as our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christ to one another . . .” (AE 31:367-368). Just as Christ sacrificed himself for us on the cross, we give ourselves sacrificially to the neighbor in love. This is expressed by Luther in the seventh of his “Invocavit sermons” preached at Wittenberg on March 15, 1522: “We shall now speak of the fruit of this sacrament, which is love; that is, that we should treat our neighbor as God has treated us. Now that we have received from God nothing but love and favor, for Christ has pledged and given us his righteousness and everything he has; he has poured out upon us all his treasures, which no man can measure and no angel can understand or fathom, for God is a glowing furnace of love, reaching even from the earth to the heavens. Love, I say, is a fruit of the sacrament” (AE 51:95). In his 1530 treatise, “Admonition Concerning the Sacrament,” Luther makes a similar point: “Where such faith is thus continually refreshed and renewed, there the heart is also at the same time refreshed anew in its love of the neighbor and is made strong and equipped to do all good works and to resist sin and all temptations of the devil. Since faith cannot be idle, it must demonstrate the fruits of love by doing good and avoiding evil” (AE 38:126).

[21] Luther’s teaching on the dual existence of the Christian in faith and love leads us to observe a connection with the teaching of the two governments or two kingdoms. Leif Grane points out that for Luther “the place where the two kingdoms are held together is the calling.”12 This calling is lived within the structures of creation. Luther identified these structures as the three “hierarchies” of “the ministry, marriage, and government.” It is within these structures of congregation, family life (which for Luther included the economic realm), and the political order that one exercises “the liturgy after the liturgy.” The Christian does not seek to escape or withdraw from the world as in monasticism but rather lives out his or her calling in the particular place where God has located him or her.

[22] In his “Table of Duties” included in the Small Catechism, Luther identifies these duties as “holy orders” in an obvious play on words over against monastic teaching. Holy people do holy work. Sacrifice is relocated. No doubt Ernst Kaesemann was influenced by the older liberalism that pitted “priestly religion” against “prophetic religion”; nevertheless he does echo a Lutheran theme in his exposition of Romans 12 as he states “Christian worship does not consist of what is practiced at sacred sites, at sacred times, and with sacred acts (Schlatter). It is the offering of bodily existence in the otherwise profane sphere.” 13In a less polemic tone, Carter Lindberg makes a similar point, “Daily work is a form of worship within the world (weltlicher Gottesdienst) through service to the neighbor.” 14The “thank, praise, serve, and obey” in the conclusion of the Explanation of the First Article find their fulfillment in the Table of Duties.

[23] Luther identifies this service to the neighbor as a genuine Gottesdienst. “Now there is no greater service of God than Christian love which helps and serves the needy, as Christ himself will judge and testify on the last day” (AE 45:172) says Luther in his 1523 writing, “Ordinance of a Common Chest.”

[24] The Christian then lives the life of worship in the realm of creation, in the terrain of God’s left-handed regime. This is affirmed in Article XVI of the Augustana as the point is made that the Gospel does not undercut secular government, marriage, or occupations within the world “but instead intends that a person keep all this as a true order of God and demonstrate in these walks of life Christian love and true good works according to each person’s calling” (AC XVI:5, Kolb/Wengert, 50). Contrary to Rome’s teaching that holiness is to be found in religious pursuits, and the Anabaptist contention that discipleship means disengagement from the world, the Augsburg Confession maintains that evangelical perfection is to be found in the fear of God and faith, not in the abandonment of earthly responsibilities.

[25] To flee from the demands that come to us by way of these earthly responsibilities is to flee from the cross that God lays upon us in order to bring death to the old Adam. It is one of the enduring strengths of Gustaf Wingren’s classic study, Luther on Vocation, that he demonstrates that in the place of our calling, God destroys the self-confidence of the old Adam who seeks to justify his existence by his own works: “In one’s vocation there is a cross-for prince, husband, father, daughter, for everyone – and on this cross the old human nature is to be crucified. Here the side of baptism which is concerned with death is fulfilled. Christ died on the cross, and one who is baptized unto death with Christ must be put to death by the cross. To understand what is meant by the cross of vocation, we need only remember that vocation is ordained by God to benefit, not him who fulfills the vocation, but the neighbor who, standing alongside, bears his own cross for the sake of others.”15

[26] The cross of vocation drives the baptized back to Christ as he enlivens us with his body and blood, so renewing and strengthening us in faith and love. Einar Billing describes the Christian life as going on between the two poles of the forgiveness of sins and our calling: “the forgiveness of sins continually restores us to our calling, and our calling . . . continually refers us to the forgiveness of sins.”16 Thus we see an ongoing rhythm between liturgy and vocation. Served with Christ’s gifts in the liturgy, we are sent back into the world to live sacrificially as his royal priesthood. This is not a life that is lived by our own energies or resources but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone. It is a life that is lived by the daily return to baptism in repentance and faith. It is a life sustained by Jesus’ words and nourished with his body and blood. In a Maundy Thursday sermon of 1529, Luther exhorted the congregation to use the sacrament as God’s remedy against the world, the flesh, and the devil: “For this reason, because Christ saw all this, he commanded us to pray and instituted the Sacrament for us to administer often, so that we are protected against the devil, the world, and the flesh. When the devil attacks, come for strength to that dear Word so that you may know Christ and long for the Sacrament! A soldier has his rations and must have food and drink and be strong. In the same way here: those who want to be Christian should not throw the Sacrament to the winds as if they did not need it.”17 God’s holy people live an embattled existence in their various callings in the world. They are ever in need of comfort and refreshment. Therefore the royal priesthood is constantly drawn back to the Divine Service to receive forgiveness of sins over and over again until that day when our baptism will be completed in the resurrection of the body and our earthly callings will be fulfilled in the eternal Sabbath of the heavenly kingdom.

[27] We conclude by asking the ultimate Lutheran question, “What does this mean” for faithful pastoral practice and the life of the church in our own day?

[28] The evangelical understanding of the liturgy might help us recover the robust reality of the doctrine of vocation that has, in large part, been lost in contemporary American Lutheranism. Vocation has been collapsed into what Marc Kolden refers to as “occupationalism.”18 Vocation is thought of only in terms of what a person does for a job. By way of contrast, Luther understood that the Christian is genuinely bi-vocational; being called first through the Gospel to faith in Jesus Christ and also called to occupy a particular station or place in life. The second sense of this calling embraces all that the Christian does in service to the neighbor not only in a particular occupation but also as a member of the church, a citizen, a spouse, parent or child, and worker. Here the Christian lives in love toward other human beings and is the instrument by which the work of God is done in the world.

[29] Luther abhorred self-chosen works both in liturgy and daily life. In his exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, he writes “Reason is the devil’s bride, which plans some particular course because it does not know what may please God. . . . The best and highest station in life is to love God and one’s neighbor. Indeed that station is filled by the ordinary manservant or maidservant who cleans the meanest pot.”19

[30] Medieval Roman Catholicism presupposed a dichotomy between life in the religious orders and life in ordinary callings. It was assumed that the monastic life guided by the evangelical counsels (i.e. the Sermon on the Mount) provided a more certain path to salvation than secular life regulated by the Decalog. American Evangelicalism has spawned what may be referred to as “neo-monasticism.” Like its medieval counterpart, neo-monasticism gives the impression that religious work is more God-pleasing than other tasks and duties associated with life in the world. According to this mindset, the believer who makes an evangelism call, serves on a congregational committee, or reads a lesson in the church service is performing more spiritually significant work than the Christian mother who tends to her children or the Christian who works with integrity in a factory. For the believer, all work is holy because he or she is holy and righteous through faith in Christ.

[31] Similar to neo-monasticism is the neo-clericalism that lurks behind the slogan, “Everyone a minister.” This phrase implies that work is worthwhile only insofar as it resembles the work done by pastors. Lay readers are called “Assisting Ministers” and this practice is advocated on the grounds that it will involve others in the church as though the faithful reception of Christ’s gifts was insufficient. It is no longer be enough to think of your daily life and work as your vocation, now it must be called “your ministry.” When this happens “the vocation of the baptized is no longer the liturgy after the liturgy, but a substitute liturgy.”20

[32] First things first. First we are served with God’s gifts in word and sacrament. Then we serve God as we live in the freedom of the forgiveness of sins attending to the neighbors that God has put into our world. It is the way of grace and works, faith and love, sacrament and sacrifice. The liturgy is the source of vocation as the gifts that God bestows now bear fruit in the callings of those who have been called out of darkness into light.

End Notes

1 Commission on Worship of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Lutheran Worship (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1982), 6.

2 Carter Lindberg, Beyond Charity:Reformation Initiatives for the Poor (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 164.

3 Oswald Bayer, “Worship and Theology,” in Worship and Ethics: Lutherans and Anglicans in Dialogue (New York: Walther de Gruyter, 1996), 154.

4 Yngve Brilioth, Eucharistic Faith and Practice: Evangelical and Catholic, trans. A. G. Herbert (London: SPCK, 1963), 94-152, 276-288.

5 Eugene Brand, “Luther’s Liturgical Surgery,” in Interpreting Luther’s Legacy: Essays in Honor of Edward C. Fendt, ed. Fred W. Meuser and Stanley D. Schneider (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1969), 108-119.

6 Bryan Spinks, Luther’s Liturgical Criteria and His Reform of the Canon of the Mass (Bramcote Notts: Grove Books, n.d.), 21-37.

7 Vilmos Vatja, Luther on Worship, trans. U. S. Leupold (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1958), 130.

8 Lutheran Worship, 153. Also see AE 53:137-138 and Works of Martin Luther VI (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1932), 329-332 for material on background and usage of this collect.

9 See Robin Leaver, “Luther’s Catechism Hymns 7. Lord’s Supper,” Lutheran Quarterly (Autumn 1998): 303-312 for an argument that Luther, in fact, substantially rewrites this hymn so that it reflects more clearly his teaching that the body and blood of Christ are present and received in the sacrament. Leaver also notes the parallel between stanza 9 and the post-communion collect (309).

10 William Willimon, The Service of God: How Worship and Ethics are Related (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1983), 18.

11 Vatja, 169.

12 Leif Grane, The Augsburg Confession: A Commentary, trans. John Rasmussen (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1987), 174.

13 Ernst Kaesemann, Commentary on Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 329. Also note the comment of Paul Rorem, “Forgiven and renewed, we offer ourselves once again to God, not in mystery and ritual at the altar but in the gritty realities of the poor and the mission fields of our neighborhoods and work places” in “The End of All Offertory Processions,” dialog (Fall, 1996): 249. Luther speaks in the same way when in a 1527 letter to John Hess he describes how Christians are to go to the aid of the sick: “. . . I know for certain in that this work is pleasing to God and all angels when I do it in obedience to his will and as a divine service. . . . Godliness is nothing but divine service, and divine service is service to one’s neighbor,” in Letters of Spiritual Counsel, ed. Theodore Tappert (London: SCM Press, 1955), 238-239. Also note the remarks of Carl Wisloff: “We, not the Sacrament, are the sacrifice. But we live from the gifts of God’s grace, that is, we are led through them from death to life. Sacrifice finds expression in just this. This event finds expression in worship through thanksgiving, praise, creed, and witness. But a true sacrifice is only this when it is consecrated through faith by daily walking in baptism, that is, walking in fear and faith, death and resurrection” in Carl Wisloff, “Worship and Sacrifice” in The Unity of the Church: A Symposium, ed. Vilmos Vatja (Rock Island, Illinois: Augustana Book Concern, 1957), 164-165.

14 Lindberg, 108.

15 Gustaf Wingren, Luther on Vocation, trans. Carl Rasmussen (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1957), 29.

16 Einar Billing, Our Calling, trans. Conrad Bergendoff (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964), 38.

17 Martin Luther, The 1529 Holy Week and Easter Sermons of Dr. Martin Luther, trans. Irving Sandberg (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 78.

18 Marc Kolden, “Luther on Vocation,” Word & World (Fall 1983): 385.

19 Wingren, 88.

20 Carter Lindberg, “The Ministry and Vocation of the Baptized” Lutheran Quarterly (Winter 1992), 396.

John T. Pless

John T. Pless is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.