Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Lutheran Fourth of July
I didn't grow up Lutheran, so when I first started attending Lutheran services in graduate school, I sometimes got confused by what seemed to be normal to everyone else. I always sat next to my friend, conveniently the daughter of a bishop, who patiently answered my questions. The first time I saw Reformation Sunday on a bulletin, I asked what it meant.
"Just think of it as Lutheran fourth of July. We're independent from the Catholics, so we'll celebrate with big music. And probably a long sermon."
Not Catholic, loud music, long sermon. Ok. Check.
But this still wasn't satisfying for my ever-hungry brain. I've since read about Reformation in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, took Pastor Mark's Lutheran 101 class, dug around on the internet. Oh, and prayed, and talked with pastors here and elsewhere about the meaning and importance of Reformation.
My conclusion now after this "research" and four years of Lutheran churches and a lot of thinking and soul searching?
Reformation Sunday IS a day to celebrate, hopefully with great music, and possibly with a long sermon. An annual viewing of the Reformation Polka may not hurt either.
But, all joking aside, it's a chance to celebrate grace. THAT's what this is really about, beyond the historical, political, social, economic, and religious ramifications of nailing the 95 theses. We don't need to earn grace--it is freely given to us, which changes everything. Grace gives us a chance to live differently because we don't have to earn God's favor, pay for indulgences, or live up to impossible expectations of an ever demanding God. And through all this, we are so deeply loved. What a great thing to celebrate!
So, as we continue praying and walking and celebrating and working and living through Christ Together we Grow, I leave you with some questions to ponder. How does grace change the way you live? What is God calling you to do because of this freedom? How can you share this good news, or explain why we celebrate Lutheran fourth of July, to the people in your life?
I invite you to pray over these questions and, as you're comfortable, to share responses here.
Posted by English_Lutheran at 6:33 AM