It’s almost here. The day 500 years ago when Martin Luther put forward the 95 Theses. Early on, the posting of Luther’s objections to the practice of indulgences was seen as the start of the Reformation. Now 500 years later, people are still talking about the Reformation. What would you say if someone asked you, “What’s all this I hear about the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation?” Maybe it will be at the YMCA while you are working out because you’ve got on your Faith 500 T-Shirt. Perhaps a work acquaintance looks to you because they know you attend a Lutheran Church and they happened to see “Reformation 500” mentioned in a recent CSI episode on TV. I would be thrilled if all of us could be ready with a one sentence “elevator” speech. Sometimes one minute or 30 seconds is all you have. What would you say?
If at this moment, you are struggling, I hope you’ll take a little time to come up with one. That would be a great way to prepare for Reformation 500.
What does the Reformation or attending a Christian Church with “Lutheran” in the name mean to you? Another way to get at this is to ask, “Why is it a big deal that God’s grace and mercy are given to us freely?
Since we as a congregation are seeking to improve our comfort and ability in talking about our faith, I hope you will indeed take a moment to put into a few words what the Reformation means to you. I’ll give you a few of mine. I hope they help you with yours. Just trying to prime your pump!
The Reformation is …
- A movement started by Martin Luther to deliver freely the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all.
- About removing anything blocking people from receiving the benefits of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. In other words, the benefits are a gift, not something we earn or get through the merit of others.
- Proclaiming that in Christ, we are free from sin and death and now free to serve our neighbor.
- A recovery of the importance of the Word in the life of the church. The Word being Jesus Christ, the message of the Gospel, and the scriptures.
- About holding the Bible as the source and norm (authority) for our lives.
- Making our love and care for the neighbor the most virtuous thing you can do.
- Standing up to power when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is in peril.
- Recovering the importance of laity (non-clergy) in the life and mission of the church.
- Receiving the gift of God’s love not with works but with a simple childlike trust.
- Getting the church back to emphasizing what Christ has done for us vs. what we do for God.
- Making sure that what we do is a response to God’s grace and not a way we earn it.
- Mending the church, not creating a new one.
- The start of what we have come to know as religious freedom.
- Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, and Christ alone.
What will you say?