Happy Halloween! And Happy Reformation Day!
Yep. Today as adults dress up and enjoy the opportunity to pretend to be someone else, and kids go door to door asking for candy, we also remember that in 1517 Martin Luther posted a list of issues he wanted to debate in religious and academic circles. He raised questions about how the people of God are to find connection with God and follow Jesus. He challenged the powers of his day – which was not very acceptable or very safe. We are grateful for his work and his courage.
Luther pointed to parts of scripture that make it clear that God’s love and forgiveness are gifts of grace from a benevolent creator. He showed that, because God loves and claims us, we are all free from trying to save ourselves from our brokenness; free to serve our neighbor out of that same love. Luther’s work re-formed the structures of the church. His teachings re-formed the way we understand God. His understandings re-formed how we are in relationship with each other.
Reform isn’t just something that happened in Luther’s day. We are able to continually re-form as we move through our lives. As we grow and change, as we encounter new issues and challenges, as we find new perspectives and resources, we re-form and find ways to more fully love and serve God and our neighbors. We find new ways to live into God’s unlimited love for us. Not just today, but every day.
A prayer of Martin Luther
Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled.
My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.
I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.
I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether.
O Lord, help me.
Strengthen my faith and trust in you.
In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.
I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; you are upright.
With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.