Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg's main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices.

Lutheran church
Within the Lutheran church, Reformation Day is considered a lesser festival, and is officially referred to as The Festival of the Reformation. Until the 20th Century, most Lutheran churches celebrated Reformation Day on October 31st, regardless of which day of the week it occurred. Today, most Lutheran churches transfer the festival, so that it falls on the Sunday (called Reformation Sunday) on or before October 31st and transfer All Saints' Day to the Sunday on or after November 1st.
The liturgical color of the day is red, which represents the Holy Spirit and the Martyrs of the Christian Church. Luther's hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God is traditionally sung on this day. Lutherans customarily stand during the hymn, in memory of its use in the religious wars of the Sixteenth Century. It is also traditional in some Lutheran schools for schoolchildren to hold Reformation Day plays or pageants that re-enact scenes from the life of Martin Luther. The fact that Reformation Day coincides with Halloween may not be mere coincidence. Halloween, being the Eve of All Saints' Day might have been an entirely appropriate day for Luther to post his 95 Theses against indulgences since the castle church would be open on All Saints' Day specifically for people to view a large collection of relics. The viewing of these relics was said to promise a reduction in time in purgatory similar to that of the purchase of an indulgence. Dr. Luther may have been shrewd in his choice of that day to post his theses.
I am blessed.
When we were "dating" (if we can call it that, we didn't actually date....)Greg explained to me how important his faith was to him, and asked if he could tell me all about it...In order to better understand it, I went to my first MSLC Lutheran Church with my friend, Peggy. But it was my husband that led me to faith, when I wasn't as willing as I should have been. I grew up Catholic and it didn't take so well. I am a much better Lutheran. I have a relationship with God now.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

That was beautiful Suzanne! Thanks for sharing that part of your faith. Martin Luther was a wonderful man that really loved and served God with all his heart! What a great example this man was. I really am so proud of the rich history of Christians that many times suffered persecution & gave even their very lives for the cause of Christ. You are so right, being a christian is having a real personal relationship with Jesus, not just a ritual. That really was so encouraging to me! Thanks for that!