DATE: October 31, 2019 – Reformation Day
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed!
TEXT: Phil 1: 27-30 – ESV - 27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[h] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
I used to love Reformation Day.
It always occurred during Halloween week and it was the one day out of the year when we Lutheran kids could dust off Martin Luther, point with pride and say to every Catholic kid in the neighborhood, "Ha, ha, I can eat a hamburger on Friday and you can't because Martin Luther was right and the pope was wrong. "
So much for my early theological convictions. Since then my respect for Luther has deepened.
I’m not alone. Some time ago, the cable TV series "Biography" aired the one hundred most influential people of the last 1,000 years,. Topping the Biography list of the top 100 was the 15th century German printer who was the first European to use moveable type, Gutenberg’s breakthrough launched the information revolution that is still transforming the world today.
Coming in second was Sir Isaac Newton, the greatest scientist of all time, His contributions to physics and mathematics opened the human mind and spirit to explore the far reaches of the universe.
In the number three slot was good old Martin Luther. Neither scientist nor technologist, he never led an army, ruled a country, composed a symphony or painted a masterpiece. Not bad! What he did do was this…
On October 31, 1517 Luther posted his famous 95 theses on the Wittenberg church door. He was outraged over the practices of a man named Johann Tetzel-who offered forgiveness of sins to the people for money. Historians of the day recorded his sales pitch, "Once the coin into the coffer clings, a soul from purgatory heavenward springs!" Luther was outraged! As a teacher of the church, Luther saw it as his sacred duty to guard the faith of the apostles, and as a guardian of that faith, at the risk of his life and against incredible opposition, Luther stood up for the truth.
What a heritage of faith to be proud of!
And what a responsibility we have as Lutheran Christians to continue this heritage—to speak the truth of God in love to those in our day.
The truth of Jesus Christ found in the Scriptures still has the power to set people free, but not unless we too stand up and say with Luther, "Here we stand. We can do no other. God help us!"
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in a world of compromise and no commitment, help me take stand for my Savior and the salvation He has won. In His Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html