“For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.” Romans 3:28
Dear Redeemer Family:
This is it! This is the month! We will be celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Inspired by the verse above, and other verses is St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, an obscure German monk of the Order of Augustinian Minors, Martin Luther, will begin a new way of viewing our salvation. Well, actually, it was the oldest way, but one that had become lost. Namely, in what will become the Lutheran Slogan, or Banner (they literally sewed this onto banners); “We are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ.”
It will begin innocently enough. Luther will nail his “95 Theses” to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. This Spring, while on vacation, we got to see these doors. Well not the original doors. They burned down in the early 1800’s. But in a way, something better. When they replaced the original doors, the people had bronze casts of the 95 Theses in the form of six tablets, mounted on the new doors. Don and Ann Linhorst, Ruth and I, got to stand at these doors (indeed, they were right across the street from our hotel room). As I looked at them in wonder, all that I could think of was, “It started here.” And literally, the world changed from that point on.
The “95 Theses” weren’t what most people think. They were really just 95 points that Luther wanted to debate, publicly. They are concerned with salvation, and against the selling of the famous Letters of Indulgence (which I call get out of Purgatory free cards – see the game Monopoly). That is all that Luther wanted, a debate. That isn’t unusual. Besides being a monk, Luther was a University professor. Professors like debates. However, Luther got a very unexpected result. The Christian Church was turned upside down, and took Western Civilization with it. But the most important result was that the understanding of the Gospel itself was changed. God’s Law was pushed back, and God’s Grace was pushed to the fore, as it should be. With that, everything ultimately changed.
To celebrate this we are doing a couple of things. We are making new banners for the sanctuary, carrying slogans from the Reformation. We are hosting the Singspiration Service for the De Soto Ministerial Alliance on Oct. 29th at 6pm (just two days shy of the actual 500th Anniversary). We have invited people from all of the different Christian communities in our area to join with us in song to the praise of God. Singspirations are always inspiring celebrations. But to make this one special, we have invited all attend to come at 4pm on that Sunday. And in a show of hospitality, we are feeding them a special, and free, meal reflecting our German heritage, with dessert following the service, and a couple of surprises. I invite all of you attend. I also ask you to volunteer to assist in this event. We will need help. There will be work to do with the meal and with the service. But, all things worth celebrating also require some effort. I hope to see all of you there.