,Summer is my time to read, study and prepare for the fall. It's my time to read whatever it is that "I" want to read --- usually books on pastoral ministry, a Bible commentary, or if I really get the chance, biography, especially Christian biography.
I just finished reading a short biographical study on Katarina Von Bora. She was born in Saxony Germany in 1499. When she was only six, her mother died and her father remarried. That same year Katarina was sent to a Benedictine boarding school. Four years later at the age of 10, she was informed that her father had enrolled her in a convent and would be expected to live out her life --- within those walls --- as a nun. She was "married to Christ" at age 16 and became a nun. But two years later she was exposed to the works of Martin Luther and his Reformation theology. She had heard teaching directly from the Scriptures and it had set her soul aflame. She and some others then sought freedom from her convent and were even willing to risk severe punishment and possibly even worse bondage than they were already subject to. With help from Luther himself, she and some others were smuggled out of the convent hiding in fish barrels used to transport Herring.
Little did Luther know that two years later, one of the nuns he had helped rescue would become his wife. "Kate" had married a man who had been declared a heretic by the pope and an outlaw by the Kaiser (the German King). Luther himself had had doubts about subjecting Katarina to all this, but she had no doubts whatsoever --- her heart belonged to Christ, God's truth, and to Luther.
By the way, this was during a time when the clergy wasn't allowed to marry --- leading to much sexual sin within the church. Although obviously she wasn't the first pastor's wife, Katarina had become one of the first pastor's wives since the arrival of the "Dark Ages." It was the birth of two simultaneous movements, the Reformation and the Renaissance, that ended the Dark Ages.
Luther called marriage "a school for character" as he realized how much his own life had been blessed by Katarina and their children. It's also because of Katarina that we have Luther's famous work entitled "Table Talk," based on the dinnertime conversations of Luther. They were recorded and preserved by Katarina .
Katarina watched her husband be misunderstood, misrepresented and even mistreated --- including threats on his life. She too also experienced much of the same personally. And although often hurt and wounded by those who meant their family ill will, they prayed for and encouraged one another in the Lord. Once, during one of these difficult times, Luther was very burdened and had lost his joy in the Lord. Kate put up with his mood for weeks. Finally, she had had enough, and one day met "Doctor Luther" (her pet name for her husband) at the door wearing a black, funeral dress.
"Who died?" Luther asked.
"God," said Katarina.
"You foolish thing!" said a put out Luther. "Why this foolishness?"
"It is true," she continued. "God must have died, or Doctor Luther would not be so sorrowful."
She knew her husband and her "therapy" worked to help refocus his vision back on the sovereign --- wisdom --- power --- and goodness of God.
Katarina not only ministered to her husband and their six children, but to the needs of people all over their hometown of Wittenberg. She listened to their problems and gave them counsel and care --- all while her own family often had little of their own.
Luther loved Katarina second only to his Lord. He affectionately called her, ""Kate, and Kitty My Rib", along with other pet names such as "my Lord Kate," or even "Doctor Katarina (she had become an excellent nurse and had learned herbal medicine while in the convent). In so many ways she had become his perfect "help meet."
Kate lived seven years after Luther’s death --- very tough, hard years. Alone she often had to run and hide with her children in the face of advancing armies and plagues. More than once she would have to rebuild the family home as a that result of the ransacking that occurred to her home while she was in forced hiding. As a widow in 16th-century Germany, she even had to fight over who would be the guardian of her children.
Finally, while once again trying to escape those pursuing her, she was thrown from a wagon into the icy waters of a ditch. Her daughter Margaret desperately tried to nurse her back to health, but Katerina died as the result of her complications. Throughout all of this, Kate demonstrated a --- dependence on God --- a desire to stand for truth --- and a continued faithfulness to her Savior. She was buried in Torgau at Saint Mary's Church, separated from the grave of her beloved "Doctor Luther." But, she was united with him again in Eternity.
As a husband and a pastor, I've also been gifted with such a "help meet" and "woman of virtue." I wouldn't have been able to be in the ministry without her. She has sacrificed much at times, and has always been there to support me, and others, in their genuine times of need.
And although she doesn't call me "Doctor Morgan" --- she does playfully call me "Pastor" --- with a twinkle in her eye.
Pastor Bob Morgan is the founding pastor of HCCF. His pastor's "heart-cry" is to see God glorified through the liberating power of the Gospel by leading people to freedom in Christ, and positive, biblical life-change.