-Wir sein pettler. Hoc est verum.--"We are beggars. This is true."--Martin Luther-

[ Home ] [ Originals ] [ Words of Ones Wiser ] [ Odds and Ends ]

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lutheran Quote of the Day: Bayer on Identity

Expanding on what I cited from Malysz on Identity, here is Oswald Bayer weighing in.

"Those who are born anew are no longer entangled with themselves. They are solidly freed from this entanglement, from the self-reflection that always seeks what belongs to itself. This is not a deadening of self. It does not flee from thought and responsibility. No, it is the gift of self-forgetfulness. The passive righteousness of faith tells us: You do not concern yourself at all! In that God does what is decisive in us, we may live outside ourselves and solely in him. Thus, we are hidden from ourselves, and removed from the judgement of others or the judgement of ourselves about ourselves as a final judgement. "Who am I?" Such self-reflection never finds peace in itself. Resolution comes only in the prayer to which Bonhoeffer surrendered it and in which he was content to leave it. "Who am I? Thou knowest me. I am thine, O God!"

"This new way of existing cannot secure itself, just as it is the liberation from all efforts at self-stabilization and self-organization. Even physically we cannot for a single moment with our own resources continue to exist and not perish. We could not live if breath was not constantly given to us and never withheld for a moment. Similarly, our new way of existing has its reality only in the breathing of prayer. "Pray God that he may work faith in you. Otherwise you will surely remain forever without faith, regardless of what you may think or do." The Lutheran Tobias Clausnitzer (1618-1684) has left us a prayer of this kind that is now a hymn:

All our knowledge, sense, and sight
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded
Till your Spirit breaks the night,
Filling us with light unclouded.
All good thoughts and all good living
Come but by your gracious giving.

"The desire to seek self-assurance and to find one's identity can lead only into the darkness of uncertainty. Faith, however, involves liberation from the drive for self-assurance and therefore from uncertainty. It means liberation from the search for identity and its attempted discovery. In prayer I am led away from myself. I am torn away from self and set outside the self with its abilities and judgements."

-Oswald Bayer, Living by Faith: Justification and Sanctification, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003), 25-26.

No comments: