Revisiting Pilgrim’s Progress

19 Sep

Even though we’re in the midst of Gulliver’s Travels, Sunday’s Bible Class left me thinking about Pilgrim’s Progress

Our Adult Bible Class is watching a video series by LCMS President The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.  In part of this week’s lesson Pastor Harrison talked about how so many people incorrectly think that church is about what they do for God.  Pr. Harrison rightly said that God needs nothing from us. What would the Creator of the world need from His creation?  He then shared an analogy of Martin Luther’s about sinners coming to worship.  Luther says that all of us come to church as poor, miserable sinners with an empty sack.  We have nothing to give God.  We confess our sins and receive forgiveness, a gift from God, which we put in our sack.  Over and over in the service we receive gifts: grace, mercy, love, the Word of God…  A multitude of blessings!  All of these gifts go in our sacks.  We leave the service with a sack over-flowing with good gifts from God.  We take our gifts home, and we share all the goodies we received with our neighbor.

I kept thinking of Christian and his burden. 

What if when his sins fell off at the cross, Christian received a new sack to carry?
A sack that was full of blessings from the Almighty God.

Oh, how that would have changed his journey.


Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Pilgrim's Progress


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3 responses to “Revisiting Pilgrim’s Progress

  1. Jeannette

    September 19, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Well said, Christine. I liked the “sack analogy” as well. I even used it yesterday. In a moment of potential frustration I was chanting to myself: “My sack is full. My sack is full. I have much to share. I have much to share. Glad there’s lots of patience in my sack today. Glad there’s lots of patience in my sack today…etc.” Hope you have a great day emptying that sack, my friend. What great Blessings we have received!

  2. Russ Davis

    January 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I’ve spent some time on the web trying to track down where in Luther’s works he presents his “empty sack” analogy. Could someone please help point me/help me out so I may find it. Thanks & God bless you. Russ

    • Christine

      January 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      I did not know where to find the analogy, so I asked for my kind pastor’s help.
      Here is one of the references:

      “But you must present your need to God, not the need of which you are not aware, but in order that you may learn to know yourself, where you are lacking, and to receive more and more the longer you hold open your sack.” (Luther, “On Prayer and the First Three Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer,” 1528; AE 51, 171)

      If I’m made aware of other places in Luther’s works where the sack analogy is mentioned, I will share them with you. I hope this helps.


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