For this week's assignment, I chose to read The Gospel for the Early Christmas Service and Trade and Usury. Both of these readings are written by Martin Luther. The first, The Gospel for the Early Christmas Service was written by Luther during his time in hiding in the Wartburg Castle. It was written to address what a Christian's actions and disposition should be towards their job or vocation, when they become Christian as opposed to being a pagan. The second reading, Trade and Usury, was written in 1524 to address the ethical issues that arise in the business world and how a Christian should respond to these issues and pursue a calling in the business world. According to Luther, the particular work which God is calling you, one of the questions from this time period, is whatever work is before you and whatever work you have been doing. Becoming a Christian does not affect the external position of a person; it changes the internal disposition of a person. These readings do not directly answer the second question of this time period but do say that serving God is done through doing fair trade and through doing the external work which God has given a person with an inner disposition that will allow them to do the things which others disdain.
Luther writes that a true "Christian life, in regard to the external aspects:" shows very little on the outside but on the inside is full of happiness, joy, and bliss. In regard to business, Luther writes that people who do trade should price their goods at a fair price. This price should reflect the work, time, and risk in procuring the goods they sell. Both of these ideas were quite foreign to the way that the world worked at the time of Luther. Most business people used their position to try and make as much money as possible. They sold their goods at exuberant prices. Many times these prices were just within the reach of poor customers, whom bought them and then had no money left over for other necessities.
From the way that I understand Luther's writings, Christianity should improve how a person works. It does not elevate the person above those around him or her, but, provided the person is a true Christian, will cause the person to be willing to do any work. A Christian should go about their work with a cheery disposition, on the inside. From any others person's point of view, a true Christian should look like a fool for doing the work that they do. Luther's writings also lead me to believe that a person's faith should influence their work. For example, Luther's take on people who do trade. A man should price his goods fairly, considering his time, risk, and work that was put into the goods, acquiring the goods, or moving the goods. At the same time the man should also consider the needs of his neighbors and their means. This would be how Luther view's Christianity in the public square and how Luther would view that Christianity should influence me in my project site.