“This barbarous Martin, accustomed only to cry out among geese. . .”
Martin Luther and his love for the gospel and its availability in the tongue of the common man is one of my favorite sounding boards for the purpose of those of us who portend to be purveyors of the gospel’s riches.
My vision of the creature officially known as the “goose” will never be the same after our current living conditions. The loft apartment that we rent is above a barn located on a green patch of land with a sizeable pond with a residing gaggle of waddling squawkers. The group, consisting of one Chinese, three French, one African and the occasional visiting Canadian is an international grouping of foul mayhem. One of the most entertaining moments on the property is feeding time. Regardless of location, situation, or hibernation, if these birds hear corn being shoveled from a particular bin on the place they all come screeching, hopping, and honking. They stink, they get in the way and they are mean. They are geese.
Martin Luther understood something about this. He yearned for the transformation of geese into swans, goats into sheep, or simply lost men into saved men. It is with this burden that he wrote the majority of his theological work in German (not Latin, the “proper” language of the day) and that he labored sacrificially and tirelessly to see the Bible made available in the language people speak. A popular version of one his statements is rendered this way in the film Luther starring Joseph Fiennes, “The language of the Bible should be as a mother speaking to her children. . .”
In my continuing studies as a student of the original languages of the Bible, a novice interpreter and translator and communicator of the Word, my preferences on translations have died to the greater concern of the gospel being heard. It saddens my heart to see Christendom involved in fruitless debates that countermand the message of the gospel. I see great fruit in the labors I have engaged in as a student, as well as those who work day in and day out for the integrity of our text, but in the meantime, let’s not forget to feed the geese.