Every year, at the end of October, we commemorate the Reformation. The Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517 with Martin Luther posting his 95 sentences or thesis on the door of the Wittenberg Chapel, is not something we celebrate. We commemorate. We remember. But the splitting of the church in Europe into Catholic and Protestant congregations, and the wars that followed is not really a reason to celebrate. It was human sinfulness that led to the division.
So, we remember. And we can be proud of our ancestors in the faith, the reformers. They risked their lives and their reputations for what they believed in. And we should be humbled by their zeal. And we should be encouraged by the freedom they preached. Article four of the Augsburg Confession (google it), should give us the courage to do what we need to do in order to carry out our mission of Connecting People to God. If we really are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then what do we have to lose?
Our stewardship focus this year continues our theme of “Looking Back, Moving Forward, Growing Deeper.” And of course, to Move Forward, or to Grow Deeper, involves that stressful word, “change.” If we want things to be different, then we must be willing to accept changes, or implement them in our own lives. If we want to grow deeper in our faith, we have to be willing to wrestle with things that make us uncomfortable (like our own shortcomings). The first three weeks of the month will be part of this stewardship focus and then Commitment Sunday will be a time to fill our pledge cards and make financial, as well as time commitments for 2020.
The final Sunday of the month is Reformation Sunday, but it is also 1st Communion Sunday for some of our youngsters. We look back, but we are also moving forward. And the deeper we grow, the deeper we sink our roots into a relationship with God, the more peaceful we will be as we move forward.
Pr. Bob Albing