It has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses based on original Bible manuscripts to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
Martin Luther was born into a time of tension and conflict, now recognized as the transitional period between the Middle Ages and the Modern Ages. As an Augustinian monk he rebelled against Papal indulgences. His actions started a chain reaction through all of Europe.
Luther’s conviction about being saved by God’s grace came from a sudden insight as he wrestled with a passage from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. For Luther and other Reformation leaders, scripture was the primary means through which we hear God’s Word. They did not believe the Bible is the literal Word of God, but they did believe that as we read scripture and wrestle with it, collectively in worship as well as in individual and group study, we can hear God’s Word to us and for us.
Luther's influence went beyond the religious sphere, for example, his translation of the Bible aided by the invention of the printing press contributed greatly to a uniform written German language.
October 29, 2017 is Reformation Sunday. The Reformation process lead over time to many of the human freedoms we take for granted.
Today we face a world with different crises and like those who came before us, are challenged to practice our faith.
God of the generations,
we give you thanks this day for our ancestors in the faith,
those individuals down through the ages who taught through
the words they spoke,
the material they wrote,
and the lives they lived.
This day we remember in particular those reformers whose work and commitments reshaped the Christian Church of their time.
Grant us, in our day, a similar passion
for renewing our faith,
for wrestling again with the scriptures that speak your Word anew to each generation,
for living a life that cares for our neighbours near and far.
Give us, like the reformers, the courage to challenge our society,
a society that tells us to put ourselves first,
whatever the cost to others and to the created order.
May we, like them, live and work as people who have experienced your grace,
and therefore live and work to make this world more like the world you would have it be.
These things we pray, in Jesus’ name,
Source: United Church of Canada website