An old friend, knowing that I have four daughters, who love Disney princess movies, recently sent me a poem he had written in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. His poem is actually an adaptation of the popular song, “Let it Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”
Hearing the line, “Here I stand and here I’ll stay” from the song made him realize the entire song could be modified to describe Luther’s experience of finally coming to terms with what it means to be saved by the righteousness of Christ through faith.
Luther struggled for years to come to terms with the righteousness of God. Finally, the Holy Spirit opened Luther’s eyes to understand what Paul meant when he wrote in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (NKJV).
Reflecting on his experience some time later, Luther wrote, “Before these words broke upon my mind, I hated God and was angry with him because, not content with frightening us sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he still further increased our torture by the gospel. But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood these words: “The just shall live by faith…” then I felt born again like a new man. I entered through open doors into the very Paradise of God.”
Luther (shown in the painting above) was finally free from his efforts to save himself by his own righteousness. He committed the rest of his life to upholding the truth of the gospel no matter what the cost. My friend’s adaptation of the song captures this well, although, admittedly you need to use your imagination! It might help to have the music on in the background while you read this…
"Let It Go" – An Adaptation by Matthew Campbell The snow glows white in Wittenberg tonight Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be seen. The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried! Don't let them in, don't let them see Be the good monk you always have to be Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know Well, now they know! Let it go, let it go Two sacraments and no more! Let it go, let it go Post 95 theses on the door! I don't care What they're going to say Let the storm rage on, The pope never bothered me anyway! It's funny how some distance Makes papal bulls seem small And the fears that once controlled me Can't get to me at all! It's time to see what I can do To test the limits and break through No pope, no councils, no penance for me - I'm free! Let it go, let it go I am one with conscience and St. Paul Let it go, let it go You'll never see me fall! Here I stand I can do no other Let the storm rage on! Acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound! My soul is spiraling with five Solas all around And one ink pot flies like an icy blast I'm never going back, Indulgences are in the past! Let it go, let it go And I'll rise from the Diet of Worms Let it go, let it go That perfect monk’s Reformed! Here I stand I can do no other Let the storm rage on, The pope never bothered me anyway!
Original lyrics by Idina Menzel for the Disney movie “Frozen”