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October 31, 2013

October 31, 2013

"Happy Reformation to You"

The Festival of the Reformation

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”Psalm 46: 11

These words of the 46th Psalm, written by the director of music, one of the sons of Korah, were the inspiration for Martin Luther to write his hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” The battle hymn of the Reformation has been sung by Lutherans, and many others, since 1529 AD.

Although many churches sprang from the Reformation era, very few of them celebrate it. It is traditionally a Lutheran celebration.

It commemorates the nailing of the 95 Thesis (paragraphs) on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg in order to begin a conversation about improper activity within the church. On the day Luther tacked those thesis to the door he could not foresee the long term impact of that act.

Luther was not trying to be a trouble maker. He was actually following a very long pattern of monks, he belonged to the Augustinian order, and University professors to begin dialogue within the church.

The problem was the church had changed. It was no longer open to that type of dialogue and reacted by placing Luther under a papal ban. Anyone who found him could kill him without suffering any consequences.

Another influence of that era that enabled the Reformation was the invention of the moveable type press. The materials that Luther prepared were widely distributed. Luther was a prolific writer, hymn writer and theologian.

Luther saw himself as part of the mainstream catholic (universal Christian) church. He was not trying to begin a new church but rather call the church at large to repent of its sins. He was especially concerned about the selling of indulgences, the buying of forgiveness of sins.

To me being part of the Lutheran confession means that we are part of the Church universal. Lutherans normally describe themselves as a confessional movement within the Church. In this era when Biblical faith has come under question, it’s an important function.

I hope you have a wonderful Reformation Day.The treat for you is to be able to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. That’s important to Lutherans; I pray it may be important to all Christians.

Peace in the Lord,

Pastor Don