Do you know that it’s the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this year? Many churches in my state, Indiana, will celebrate in the fall with musical events. The German town of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther posted his suggested reforms of the church, will be celebrating, as will much of Protestant Europe. How about you? Is the Reformation something important to you? My colleague, Anna Bowness-Park, writing for the August 12, 2017 edition of the Canadian newspaper, The Times-Colonist, challenges you to celebrate a deeper sense of reform…letting the Bible speak to you as a living document for changing your life. Here’s Anna:
When German theologian Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the doors of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany in October 1517, he would probably have been amazed if he’d known that the Christian world would still be talking about him today and the radical change that Christianity has undergone since then. This year marks the 500th year of this event, which revolutionized Christians to rethink their relationship to God.
Luther was not the only reformer at the time, but his courageous stand, along with leading lights such as the Englishman William Tyndale, inspires appreciation and respect. Perhaps the most important thing these reformers saw was the need for the Bible to be translated from Latin and Greek – which many did not read – to a common language of the people.
Why was this so important? Because at the heart of this change was their desire for everyone to know and understand God through “the Word” and Jesus, the Christ, through his own words and works. At that time, people were told God was distant and to be feared and the Word could only be interpreted by a religious figure. Once people could read the Bible themselves, some began to glimpse God as something more – including as Love – and to want a direct relationship with the Divine.
Thinking about this, I wondered: What if we saw the Reformation not just as an historical event but also as an everyday opportunity to reform the way we understand the nature of God and our relationship to the Divine?….