Bold Women’s Day—observed annually on the fourth Sunday of February—celebrates all Lutheran women who have acted or are acting boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ. Martin Luther is known to have weighed in on boldness. While “sin boldly” is the popular Luther reference, Luther’s statement is often not understood in its full context.
Luther was writing to his friend, Philip Melanchthon, in 1521, admonishing him to “preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin,” as one translation puts it. Luther reminds Melanchthon that God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Luther recognized that we are sinful in this life even as we respond to our baptismal call to discipleship. “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong,” says another translation, “but let your trust in Christ be stronger” yet and rejoice in Christ who conquers sin, death and the world. We Lutherans have a theology that gives us great freedom to be risk takers. Our ability to act boldly is rooted in our baptism and continually enabled, empowered and supported by God’s grace.
Be bold, take risks on account of the gospel, but believe more boldly still in Christ Jesus; that’s what Luther tells us. And that’s what Women of the ELCA celebrates through Bold Women’s Day: women who are bold, women who take risks on account of the gospel, women who believe more boldly still in Jesus Christ.
This is adapted from a resource, Celebrating Bold Women’s Day. Suggestions for ways to observe Bold Women’s Day are available. Today we remember Martin Luther, renewer of the church, who died on this day in 1546.