My husband still retains his membership in the Lutheran church he grew up in, so we receive The Lutheran magazine on a monthly basis. Most of the time, I find it too theologically liberal but every once in awhile there is a precious nugget to be mined. Here is just such a nugget from the December issue, page 24 in an article discussing Martin Luther’s view on Mary:
But then Luther distinguishes Mary from the idol that he felt she had become in the medieval church. Mary is, indeed, the mother of God (Theotokos), but her blessedness is the result of God’s grace alone. He wrote: “Not her humility but God’s regard is to be praised. When a prince takes a poor beggar by the hand, it is not the beggar’s lowliness but the prince’s grace and goodness that is to be commended.”
Luther also sought to reinterpret the prevailing interpretation of Mary’s phrase “all generations will call me blessed.” The greatest work that God can ever do, he explained, is to “regard us” as God regarded Mary.
For where it comes to pass that God turns his face toward one to regard him, there is nothing but grace and salvation, and all gifts and works must follow….
“Note that [Mary] does not say men will speak all manner of good of her, praise her virtues, exalt her virginity or her humility, or sing of what she has done. But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed. That is to give all the glory to God as completely as it can be done….Not she is praised thereby, but God’s grace toward her.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 21; Concordia, 1956).