Many Lutherans know that the Reformation was something that happened 500 years ago when a German monk named Martin Luther nailed something on a church door in Wittenberg and the world has never been the same. I suspect that the details of all that are a little fuzzy, even for Lutherans. Sure, the Reformation was a big deal. But that was a long time ago. You might find yourself thinking, “So what?” What does the Reformation mean to us in the 21st century?
Well, it might come as a surprise that the Reformation is more than a historical event from long ago. In fact, God is always working to reform and renew the church. As Luther put it in Latin, “ecclesia semper reformanda” – the church is always being reformed! As our Bishop, Jim Hazelwood, puts it, the Spirit is always “stirring things up”. One Lutheran pastor in Connecticut even wrote a song about it.
So let’s stir it up in the Spirit’s power.
Today is the day, and now is the hour
For grace and truth to blaze away.
We can stand in confidence, we have something to say.
So let’s stir it up not just to survive,
Or to keep buildings open, to worship programs and pride;
But to further the Gospel, to meet neighbors anew
To go out in the air, to see what we can do.
So let’s stir it up with Jesus to guide.
We don’t preach ourselves, but Him crucified.
We risk ridicule, we consider in prayer
The neighbors in need, to show them we care.
So let’s stir it up with money and time,
Put plans into action, something new is no crime.
Reformation’s a word with an edge to action
The joy of the Lord will give strength and traction!
The Spirit is certainly moving at Joy in Christ. There’s an energy, an excitement in the air. What a thrill to see the crowds in church for our Jazz Brunch, for Eleanor McNeil’s 95th birthday, for Harold and Helen Manson’s 65th anniversary, and I expect a crowd on Reformation Sunday for the baptism of Paul and Missy Tupa’s son Berndt! At the same time, our church is building bridges in our community. We are excited about new partnerships with All Saints Episcopal Church in Whitman and the United Church of Christ of Abington. And in November, more than 220 volunteers from the South Shore will package meals for some 80,000 hungry people in Plymouth County! The Reformation isn’t something that happened long ago and far away. Reformation is now! Reformation is today! The Spirit is at work among us. Stir it up!
Pastor Russ Norris