Monthly faith reflections from the pastor.
Reformation In Our World
Over 500 years ago Martin Luther was a catalyst for a chain of events that he never imagined would lead to where we are today in our faith and our expression of faith out in the world. If we want to get knit picky, in reality it was God and the Holy Spirit who put in motion these chain of events through Martin Luther and many other reformers of his time but for the sake of simplicity, we will give Luther the recognition for following the Spirit’s guiding.
As we near then end of October, as Lutherans we recognize a very special day. No, I’m not talking about Halloween no matter how much I or others love to collect and/or give out candy or love to dress up as monsters, superheroes, princesses, or whatever your heart’s desire. Instead, I am talking about Reformation Day, which happens to be the 31st of October as well. October 31st, 1517, was the day that Martin Luther is said to have hammered the 95 Theses, which were largely written as a rebuttal to the idea and practice of buying indulgences to obtain God’s forgiveness of their sins, on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany and so we as the Lutheran church (and many other protestant denominations) celebrate Reformation Day on the last Sunday of October.
Reformation Sunday is when we as the Church commemorate and remember Martin Luther and the events that transpired that led to reforms within the church. These calls to reforms led to divisions due to resistance to what was being called on to be reformed, as well as brought up disagreements within those looking for reform on what exactly they thought needed to be changed (this doesn’t sound relatable to today’s world at all, haha). There were disagreements over doctrine, theology, and practices in worship and daily life as a Christian. But at the heart of the reformation movement was the biblical proclamation that through the life of Jesus Christ and our faith in him that we are made right with God. We, sinners are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, for the sake of Christ alone, a truth revealed to us in Scripture alone. In other words, it is not about us and what we do or don’t do but it is about God and what God did, does, and will continue to do.
Martin Luther didn’t set out to create new denominations of churches he was seeking the Church to go back to its roots of what was actually written in the bible, especially regarding Jesus and what he had taught about himself and God. Luther also, is largely responsible to bringing about the reality of Bibles being written in languages that common folk would be able to understand in their native language, instead of a language that very few knew and would then interpret to the masses.
I implore you to not only think of the “reformation” as a past event but as an ongoing and continual event. At the heart of the reformation, it was about God’s love and mercy for all being made known and able to be understood by all people through the call to change and reform the customary practices of the day.
We look around the world today and know that it has greatly changed since Martin Luther’s time, and we have also seen much change within our own lifetimes. These days, when we often hear people state that the church is dying, we can reframe our understanding of death and renewal to see that the church as we know it is actually being reformed by the Holy Spirit in ways we don’t yet understand. We could continue to hold tight to what we are used to that often makes us feel safe and comfortable, or we can embrace how God, Jesus, and the Spirit are at work transforming us and the body of Christ in the world. We pray that we will always be open to the work of the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit will guide us into new ways to be the Church together, sharing the good news of God’s love and mercy out in the world.
Some events in Martin Luther’s life that led the church to the historical reformation:
Peace, Pastor Tamara
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Photo used under Creative Commons from frankieleon