Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This October we join Lutherans around the world in commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It was October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther, a monk and pastor, posted his “95 Theses” in Wittenberg, Germany. He intended to start a debate, hoping to provoke change in the church to which he had dedicated his life.
What he actually started was so much more. The debate over indulgences—over how –split the church, and began the turbulent period of the Protestant Reformation. The divide between Roman Catholic and Protestant has led to wars, to divisions in families, and to much heartache over the centuries.
As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we also celebrate that we have come to new and renewed understandings of our Catholic brothers and sisters. Catholics and Lutherans around the world are marking this anniversary together, as Pope Francis and Bishop Younan of the Lutheran World Federation did in Sweden. We are closer today than we have been in the past 500 years.
As we remember this important anniversary, we also remember that the act of reformation did not start with Martin Luther and it did not end with him, either. The Reformation continues when we seek ways to help the church live up to the ideals of the Gospel. The Reformation continues when God’s love comes to us—unbidden, unearned—and changes us.
As we commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, I invite you to a few events:
“From Conflict to Communion: Together in Hope”—Join Lutheran and Roman Catholic theologians, including the president of Villanova University for an ecumenical seminar and worship—especially focused on lay people. October 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Lansdale. Register: community.ministrylink.org/togetherinhope
Reformation Vespers Service—St. John Lutheran Church, Blue Bell, featuring the St. John’s and St. Paul’s choirs and orchestra. October 29, 7:30-9:00
St. Paul’s Reformation worship will be one service at 9:30, on October 29th. As we commemorate this important anniversary, may we continue to re-form as the church, to be the body of Christ, broken for the sake of the world.