October 2017
From Pastor Paul

“In short, I will preach it, teach it, write it, but I will constrain no one by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philipp and Amsdorf, the Word … did everything.”  —Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Sisters and Brothers in Christ, 

We enter into this month in a very special time in history.  October 31st, as most of you are aware is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.  One man, Martin Luther, took a stand that literally shredded the fabric of Europe. It changed theology, it changed politics, it changed society and it changed political boundaries.  But, the Reformation is a much broader event than that singular day.  Though the Reformation began on that day, it has lived on through five centuries and because of it, we have continued to see the church constantly in the midst of Re-formation.  That moment in time, paved the way for theologians, from a variety of nations, to add their voice in proclaiming Christ for everyone throughout the world.  Luther may very well be at the center of the Reformation, but he does not stand alone.

“The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.” 
—Martin Luther, (thesis 62) 

“A Christian congregation should never gather together [in worship] without the preaching of God’s Word and prayer, no matter how briefly. … For all that matters is that God’s Word be given free course to encourage and enliven hearts, so that they do not become burdened.”
—Martin Luther

Prior to the Reformation, worship was largely done for the people. The music was performed by professional musicians and sung in an unfamiliar language (Latin). The Reformation gave worship back to the people. … Worship once again became participatory.

“All that matters is that God’s Word be given free course to encourage and enliven hearts so that they do not become burdened.”  —Martin Luther

Luther knew what it felt like for the law to convict him, accuse him, leave him with nowhere to rest. And if you want to know what really sparked the Reformation, it is the fact that feeling this way, Luther believed that God’s grace is a gift, and he refused to accept what the church was teaching at that time: that we are saved by the works of the law.  The medieval church had convinced people of the law as Gospel, and Luther dared to know the difference, and he became a proclaimer of grace.  We are saved by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus.  The heart of the Gospel that changed everything.

 “The law says, ‘do this,’ and it is never done. Grace says, ‘believe in this,’ and everything is already done.” —Martin Luther 

What a wonderful reminder and gift this is for us, a moment of resurrection.  In our own lives, when we step out and risk something for faith, for God, for family, for life, for love, that is a moment of resurrection.  That is a moment of reformation. . . . . a moment of re-formation. 

Servants together,     Pr. Paul <><