Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reformation Sunday

So, here we are, another Reformation Sunday. This one will be different for me. My sister and her 4 year old son are here, so we likely won't go to church. No wearing of red, no singing of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." I'll report tomorrow or the next day on what we did, and I'll think about the Reformation tie ins. I'm an old style English major and a poet, so I can make intriguing connections out of the flimsiest evidence.

Last year I wrote this post about what to do to celebrate Reformation Sunday if you can't make it to your local Lutheran church:

"--Go to a German restaurant and eat a German meal. Think about Martin Luther, who ate this food. Drink a German beer. Think about Martin Luther, who was not inhibited about the earthly delights.

--As you're drinking that German beer, write your own hymns. Not a musician, you say? Use popular drinking songs as your base! Lutheran legend has it that some of our greatest hymns have tunes that originated as drinking songs. So, the melody is already created for you--write a hymn.

--Not in a songwriting mood? Write your own 95 theses. What do you see as wrong with the Church? Do you have any suggestions? Extra points if you can back them up with Scripture.

--One of the Church's actions that outraged Luther was the selling of indulgences, which he saw as victimizing the poor. We like to think that the modern church has moved beyond the selling of indulgences, but history suggests that we're fooling ourselves. In what ways do you see the Church selling indulgences? Another way of thinking about this question: in what ways does the Church abuse its power?

--If you want to follow in the footsteps of Luther, indulge in some guilt. Luther held himself to some stringent standards, especially in his early life. Think about all the ways you've let God down--and then remember Luther's teaching about Grace, and feel better.

--Read the Bible. Rejoice in the fact that you can read it in your own language. Thank Luther for being one of the earliest translators of the Bible into the common language.

--You don't want to worship at a Lutheran church today? Go to a Catholic church. Remind yourself of where you'd be if Luther hadn't started the Reformation.

I'm being a bit facetious with this one. I know that if there had been no Luther, there'd have been others to lead us down the Reformation road. "

I don't think the 4 year old would like any of those things. Hmm. We'll likely go to the beach in the morning and go trick or treating tonight. Not a typical Reformation Day. But a good way to reflect on the vastness of God and God's creation, and a good way, as we plan a Halloween costume, to think about our lives and any reforms that need to be made.

May your bulwarks never fail! Wait, we don't use that line (from "A Mighty Fortress") any more. Drat! How will children learn that word?

That song seems more appropriate than ever for our age. Societal institutions left and right have shown us of their inadequacy. We're lucky to have God as our shield and comfort.

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