Post date: Sep 28, 2017 6:14:54 PM
As I write on the last official day of summer, I am missing the warm sunshine, but giving thanks for the cooler, wetter weather which is helping to put out the fires. We really need the rain after a dry, hot summer. At the same time we continue to pray for everyone who is getting way too much rain and wind from the hurricanes in the Caribbean and our south eastern states.
This October Lutheran Christians around the world are celebrating Reformation 500. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses (debate topics), on the Wittenberg Chapel door. How God forgives sins and the sale of indulgences for forgiveness were high on Luther’s debate topics. Luther knew, from reading the Bible, that Almighty God grants us the forgiveness of our sins through the gracious gift of his Son Jesus Christ. No money changed hands with the the church when sins are forgiven. Because of the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus, we are freely given forgiveness, life and salvation. We are set free from trying to earn, or pay, our way with God. Instead we are free to care for our neighbors in need. As Luther said, “God does not need my good works, but my neighbor does,” and “Good works do not make a Christian, but a Christian does good works.
” This leads into Luther’s understanding of vocations. I that day it was thought that Priests monks and nuns had the highest and most God pleasing vocations. Luther rightly thought that anything which serves the neighbor in need is a good vocation (whether or not you get paid for doing it.) Luther said that when a mother changes her baby’s diapers, or a farmer shovels manure to grow food for people, that is as pleasing to God as when a monk utters his prayers. Whatever you are doing in your job, school, church or community, do it to the glory of God and the benefit of the neighbor in need.
As you know, a major contribution of Martin Luther was translating the Bible from Latin to German. Soon, other reformers translated the Bible into English, French and other languages so that people could read the truth of God’s word for themselves.
Another saying of the Reformation is, “The church reformed and always reforming.” We are not stuck in the 16th century. Luther was greatly aided in his day by the recent invention of the printing press. Today we can use radio, email, text messages, the internet and websites.
Martin Luther was far from perfect. He said some horrible things about our Jewish friends. The Lutheran Church has publicly apologized for Luther’s anti-semitic writings. But God did use Luther and other reformers of the faith for great good. God continues to work through you and all his servants today. In what ways is God working through you to show and tell the good news and saving love of Jesus Christ? Our whole lives are a “Thank you!” to God for freely loving and saving us through Jesus.
Serving God and neighbor together with you,