This Sunday is Reformation Sunday. Reformation Sunday has traditionally been observed in the Lutheran Church on the Sunday preceding October 31st. It was on that day in AD 1517 in Wittenberg Germany that Martin Luther posted 95 Theses for debate amongst the theologians in Wittenberg. While this often is billed as a grand act of defiance, it was fairly innocuous at the time. The door of the church served as a bulletin board.
As in consequential as it seemed that day, it was the spark that turned into a fire within the church in Germany and throughout the Western World. Three years later, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Church. It wasn’t until 12-13 years later that the teaching of the Reformation started to become confessionally formalized. In 1529, Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms were published. Then in 1530 the chief confession of the Reformation was prepared and delivered in the form of the original, unaltered Augsburg Confession.
So, we remember the posting of the 95 Theses this Sunday. However, it is not for the actions or the writings of Martin Luther that we celebrate Reformation Day, but instead it is the activity of the Holy Spirit at work during the Reformation why we especially celebrate this festival day. The Holy Spirit revealed anew the teaching held by scripture that you are justified by grace alone, apart from works.
In order to remind us of the work of the Holy Spirit during that time and even now, the paraments in the sanctuary and the vestments (Pastor’s Stole) will be changed to red, the color of Pentecost. May you be richly blessed through the work of the Holy Spirit this Reformation Sunday, and everyday.