501st Anniversary of the Reformation?

If you have read anything written by any theologian/pastor of any confession of faith in the past ten months, I would bet that no one has said anything about the five hundred and first anniversary of the Reformation, which we will be celebrating on the last Sunday of October this year. Taking it a step further, I would be willing to bet that no one has ever written about a five hundred and first anniversary of anything before today! Here is to the first.

Reformation is the annual festival which the Church celebrates on Oct. 31st, or the Sunday before Oct. 31st as we do at Zion. The festival com-memorates Dr. Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany on All Hallow’s Eve, the day before All Saints’ Day, in the year 1517.

Last year, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod used a lot of resources advertising the five hundredth anniversary. It is good to celebrate important historical events. A society that loses its touch with history is bound to repeat its mistakes. It is the same with the Church.

The purpose of this month’s Newsletter, however, is to remind us that the celebration of the Reformation is equally important every year, whether it is a five hundredth anniversary, five hundred and first, or whenever it is that Christ comes again. The celebration will always matter, not because we are “Lutheran”, but because the festival celebrates the restoration of the Gospel that had been more or less lost after centuries of scholasticism in the Middle Ages. Scholasticism was a system of philosophy and theology that was based on ancient logic and strongly emphasized tradition. It is difficult to believe, but hardly any attention was placed on studying the Bible. Hardly anyone – including pastors – read the Bible or even knew what was in it! (This, by the way, was why Luther wrote the Small and Large Catechisms in 1529).

By the time Martin Luther became a doctor of the Church, a new philosophy had surged onto the academic scene called Renaissance humanism. One huge benefit arose from this philosophy, a rallying cry known as ad fontes. This phrase means “to the sources” in Latin. For the Reformers, it was a call to return to THE source of the Christian Faith – the Bible!

From the Bible, Paul’s epistle to the Romans to be specific, Luther rediscovered the simple and beautiful message of the Gospel when he read, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (3:28). The basic promise of the Gospel is contained in the four “solas” (sola is the Latin word for “alone”) that the Church still likes to talk about: we are saved by grace alone, because of Christ alone, through faith alone, and this Good News is contained in Scripture alone.

In plain and simple language, the Reformation celebrates the Gospel, what God does for us for Jesus’ sake. That is why every single year the festival of the Reformation matters. If the Church can fall away from the basic, simple promises that God makes for Jesus’ sake once, it can happen again if we are not careful. May it never be! On the month of this five hundred and first anniversary of the Reformation, may we always “continue in the Word” as Jesus says in the Gospel reading appointed for Reformation, for when we continue in the Word, we “shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free” (John 8:31-32).

May we ever cling to the freedom that comes with the promise of the Gospel that God has declared us righteous, that is, forgiven, for Jesus’s sake! Happy five hundred and first anniversary of the Reformation!

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Sunday Worship Services - 8:00 A.M. and 10:30 A.M.
Compline Services, Wednesday's - 7:00 P.M.


 

COMMUNION SCHEDULE
 

8:00 A.M. First and Third Sundays

10:30 A.M. Second and Fourth Sundays

Fifth Sunday, Both Services

COMMUNION STATEMENT
Special note to our visitors and guests: Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt, or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, are kindly asked to refrain from partaking of the Sacrament until first speaking with our Pastor.

Wednesday Night Service/Bible Study

The Wednesday Services will resume in April begining at 7:00 P.M. in the Sanctuary, followed by Bible Study in the Family Room. Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15 P.M. - 6:45 P.M.  in Pastor Hromowyk's office.