My guess is that today is not that big a deal in your world. It is the day after Halloween, the day when we all swear that next year we won’t buy the 20-lb bag of candy because we only have 20 Trick or Treaters and we are left with all that candy to eat. (We can’t let it go to waste! Just think of all those children who don’t have candy to eat!)
Or maybe you are just counting down the days, hoping to survive the last seven days of this election season that will not end! (Bad news, I predict that it won’t end on November 9. Sorry! But that is for another post.)
Or maybe you are one of those people who know that when the witches and goblins disappear it is time for Santa and his elves to show up; to start listening to Christmas music, to get the tree up and decorated! (Wal Mart has you beat!) But don’t forget about that Thanksgiving season (too late!)
But today is a BIG DEAL. At least to us in the church. At least to those of us in the Protestant church. At least to those of us who wake up way too early on November 1!
It is Reformation Day. OK, actually it was yesterday, but who can compete with characters from Star Wars? For you who aren’t Church History Nerds, that is the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church. Just a warning, it was 499 years ago, so get ready to hearing a lot about it this time next year!
It was the act that led to the Protestant Reformation. It fed into a growing nationalism in Europe with which they are still dealing; it led to a rift in the church that continues to grow. All this because Martin Luther wanted to start a discussion. A discussion about indulgences, grace, God and faith.
Confession—until this morning I don’t know if I had ever read Luther’s 95 Theses. (I am sorry Bill Leonard and Glenn Hinson. I am sure you assigned it, and I may have read it, but it didn’t find a place in the mental rolodex!) You too can catch up on that unfinished assignment here!
Now a few random thoughts:
- Many of these theses are about indulgences—the medieval church’s stewardship campaign. I have to wonder if this was Luther’s response to receiving another pledge card, or whether he was just paving the way for those who came after. Could it be that this is why we never read these in church?
- Luther’s intention was to start a conversation. How seldom do we do that in church anymore. We play it so safe. We will talk about football, but when was the last time you had a conversation/discussion about Hell, purgatory, or heaven. Do they even exist in our thought anymore?
- What would happen in our churches if there was a new “Wittenberg Door” a place where people could post ideas around which they would like to have conversation. Might that be better then our traditional Sunday School?
What would you post?