Friends in Christ,Friends in Christ,
The countdown has begun! By the end of this month the world will have seen five hundred years of history of the Protestant Reformation. It all began on October 30, 1517 when a young catholic priest and scholar named Martin Luther posted his concerns and complaints against the hierarchy of the church. It has been said many times over that this young priest had no idea what he was putting into motion with his “95 Theses”. What has become clear with years and centuries of hindsight is that Martin Luther was voicing the concerns of many. The people of the church as well as many scholars and priests within the church in many lands and in many settings had tired of the corruption that was so obvious within the church hierarchy and of the staggering difference between the wealth and opulence of the greater church and the widespread poverty of the vast majority of the population of Europe.
Contemporary theologian and scholar Phyllis Tickle has offered the thesis, “that every 500 years, the Church goes through a rummage sale, and cleans out the old forms of spirituality and replaces it with new ones.” The Protestant Reformation in 1500 A.D. followed by 500 years the great schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church which took place in approximately 1000 A.D. Luther’s primary belief was that each and every Christian can access the grace of God without the intervention of the church. To encourage this, Luther worked diligently to put Holy Scripture into the hands of the general population. This meant defying the church that had for centuries dictated that the Bible be only issued in Latin, a language understood only by priests and their superiors. Supported in their efforts by the newly invented “moveable type printing press”, Luther and others distributed the Bible to the masses – in their own language!
Standing now at the portal of the 500th anniversary of these amazing acts, we must ask ourselves, “Is it time for another of Dr. Tickle’s ‘rummage sales’?” Is this the age when spirituality and our relationship to our God will be ‘reinvented’, shifted radically, cast in a new and powerful light? Is it time to take a serious look at the way we ‘do faith’? Does our worship, our prayer, our study of scripture need to find new forms of expression? Do we need to reinvigorate the call of Christ to minister to those around us? Does our ministry to others need to take new form in order to maintain its relevance in this current age?
I have no easy answers to these questions. I do, though, have a great love for the Gospel and a great curiosity in my faith. I am always ready and happy to engage you in conversation around the simple aspects of life and faith as well as around the deep and weighty matters of life and faith. So come and celebrate with us here at Zion Church! Come and explore with us! Come and find the joy of life in Christ Jesus our Savior that has – throughout all the rummage sales – been at the core of who we are and what we are about!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Dan