On October 31, 1517, the eve of All-Saints’ Day, at high noon, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. It is easy to over-dramatize the event, but you cannot be unmindful of those hammer blows which echoed around the world. The Reformation had begun!
What was Luther doing? He was listing 95 reasons why he objected to the sale of Indulgences. His church door was, in reality, the university bulletin board where all announcements were attached. As a professor he was calling for a debate; he was willing to take on all challengers. In truth, there was nothing revolutionary in the way it was all done. Debate was the usual pattern for the academic community - a healthy, logical informative method which had been employed for centuries.
So, what was Martin Luther attempting to do? He was making a valid protest in terms of 1517. He spoke to his time, for his time, and in the language of his time. His action was, one of the greatest moment in the modern history of man. It changed everything.
Martin Luther prepared the Small Catechism for children, Luther outlined the courses: The Ten Commandments should be studied as a basis for awareness of sin. The Apostles’ Creed should be used to illustrate redemption from sin. The Lord’s Prayer was to be memorized as the source of spiritual strength for all believers. We still use this format today for Confirmation classes. We also learn that the good news in Christ is that in the Cross we see that God suffered for us. Here we are saved. This is not our doing; it is God’s action. We accept God’s gracious gift through complete surrender. The natural highpoint of faith is: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me".
So the question for us today is, "But does this apply to the Twenty-first Century?" I am going to be preaching about this in October.
During the month of October we will be focusing on the Reformation and all that that means to us as Lutherans. Starting the week of October 8th I will be preaching a sermon series about the Refor-mation, Holy Communion, Baptism and Grace. I hope this will help you better understand “What it means to be Lutheran”. There will also be other Reformation themes and activities during the month that you can participate in. Plug in with them.