Skip to comments.Midstate Lutherans mark ‘Reformation Sunday’
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.
Macons 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, Its not really that different from any other Sunday.
Were a very formal church.
Not that Lutherans dont 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 whats 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 churchs 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 didnt 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 faiths 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 Macons 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.
Were 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 todays 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 thats cosmic, thats 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 somethings different, Braswell said.
Lutheran ping material.
Wishing a Blessed Reformation Day!
My congregation almost always uses it on the First Sunday in Lent.
Frankly, it sounded a little weak accompanied by a guitar and tamborines.