Saturday, October 27, 2018

The 501st Anniversary of the Reformation

Tomorrow, we will be celebrating the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95  Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church on October 31, 1517.  I say "celebrating" because in point of fact, Martin Luther would have looked unkindly upon any celebration that took the focus of the members of his congregation off of Christ crucified, and his saving work for all of mankind.  Luther, who was a humble man despite being a Doctor of the Church, viewed himself as a good catholic, and called his own brand of Catholicism "Evangelical Catholicism."  He would never have approved of calling ourselves "Lutheran."

Now, I must take a slight excursion here to explain that the word "evangelical" does not mean "fundamental" or hand waving, praise bands, large TV monitors, or any of the other clap trap that has typically gone by the name "evangelical."  If you believe that "evangelical" is a descriptor of weird so called "christianity" then you have been badly misinformed.  Evangelical means that you follow the Word of God, as recorded in the Bible.  Bible translations that use original sources, or as close in time to original sources as we can get are considered the best.  Every part of our service is documented as being from the Bible.  So, while Roman Catholics make up theories of "transubstantiation" about the Eucharist, and other protestants label the Bread and Wine as "symbols," Lutherans believe what Christ said at the Last Supper:

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, [a]blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the [b]new covenant, which is shed for many for the [c]remission of sins.
How it works is above our pay grade. That it works is a matter of faith. No more needs to be said.

And so tomorrow, we will likely gather and will confess our sins, which we do daily, by commission and omission, such that we deserve God's temporal and eternal punishment. But God, in his boundless graciousness, has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He sent his son to die a painful, tortured death for us. So we will look to the Cross, and be grateful.

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