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Midstate Lutherans mark ‘Reformation Sunday’
macon,com ^ | Oct. 25, 2008 | Rodney Manley

Posted on 10/26/2008 7:54:35 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Lutherans will celebrate Reformation Sunday this week to recognize Martin Luther, the 16th century monk who launched the Protestant Reformation and helped change the Western world.

Macon’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on Pierce Avenue will take communion and hold a gospel processional, in which the Bible in carried into the congregation for special reading.

In other words, said pastor Jim Braswell, “It’s not really that different from any other Sunday.

“We’re a very formal church.”

Not that Lutherans don’t recognize the historical significance of Oct. 31, 1517, when Luther posted his “95 Theses” on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That day, now observed on the last Sunday in October, is what’s called a “high festival Sunday” in the church, Braswell said.

Luther lived in a superstitious era and was able to show the people that this “wrathful God that had been taught was actually a loving God,” Braswell said. In his theses, Luther, who was a doctor of theology, challenged the Catholic church doctrine, particularly concerning dispensation and salvation. He objected to the church’s practice of selling “indulgences,” or relief from punishment for sin. He also believed, contrary to the church, in “salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ,” Braswell said.

“In the Catholic church, that was unheard of, that you could be saved by anything other that works.”

Braswell said Luther never actually broke with the church.

“They sort of broke with him. ... Luther never saw himself as a non-Catholic. He just wanted to debate. At that time, the Catholic church didn’t allow for debate.”

Luther was eventually excommunicated and lived much of his life as an outlaw, at one point being taken into exile by a German prince.

Luther also translated the Scriptures into the German language, which made them available to the masses. A music lover, he penned “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” widely considered one of the Christian faith’s greatest traditional hymns. The lyrics are a paraphrase of Psalm 46.

“To Luther, Scripture was the norm for daily living, as well as for worship,” said Braswell.

Luther, he said, took to heart the scriptural calls to “look after those who have need.”

“He welcomed anybody and everybody to his home.”

Braswell said Macon’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, which has a weekly attendance of about 120, is trying to live by that creed as well. The church was established here in 1914 and has “always seen itself as a community church,” he said.

The church has a licensed counselor on staff who provides free marriage therapy. It offers meeting space to civic groups, and it hosts a monthly think-tank gathering, “Great Decisions,” to discuss political and social issues. It also plans to host a flu-shot clinic.

“We’re trying to be an open-to-the-community church. Anybody and everybody is welcome,” Braswell said. “That was Luther. You knock on the door, come on in.”

The face of the Lutheran Church is changing. Whereas its congregation was once almost exclusively German and Scandinavian, members now come from all colors and backgrounds, said Braswell, who is Irish and a former Catholic.

“I was a good Catholic. I went to church on Easter and Christmas, whether I needed to or not,” he joked.

His wife, who was German and a Lutheran, insisted that their children would attend church whether he came along or not. As a result, he began going and liked what he found in the Lutheran church.

“It was like the walls whispered, ‘Welcome. Welcome.’ ”

Braswell said the Lutheran Church has much to offer people in today’s troublesome times.

“I think people are looking for something comforting, looking for the spiritual. People need that place where you can be quiet, where you can sing really sacred hymns. People want to find peace that’s cosmic, that’s not full of chaos.”

The liturgical colors used for vestments and hangings in the church are changed to recognize certain occasions. For instance, during the Advent season, the colors will be blue.

On Reformation Sunday, they will be red, which is used to honor saints and martyrs.

“That tells people something’s different,” Braswell said.


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Mainline Protestant; Worship
KEYWORDS: anniversary; luther; lutheran; martinluther; reformation; reformationday

1 posted on 10/26/2008 7:54:35 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: lightman; Alex Murphy

Lutheran ping material.


2 posted on 10/26/2008 12:46:59 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor)
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; Arrowhead1952; ..


Lutheran Ping!

Wishing a Blessed Reformation Day!

3 posted on 10/26/2008 1:44:26 PM PDT by lightman (Sarah Palin: A REAL woman, not an empty pantsuit!)
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To: lightman; Alex Murphy
It's a shame that this is the only day of the year when we get to sing A Mighty Fortress.
4 posted on 10/26/2008 3:27:35 PM PDT by SmithL (Drill Dammit!)
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To: SmithL
It's a shame that this is the only day of the year when we get to sing A Mighty Fortress.

My congregation almost always uses it on the First Sunday in Lent.

5 posted on 10/26/2008 5:24:31 PM PDT by lightman (Sarah Palin: A REAL woman, not an empty pantsuit!)
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To: SmithL

Frankly, it sounded a little weak accompanied by a guitar and tamborines.


6 posted on 10/27/2008 6:00:22 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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