Nov 28 2017
Pastor Dave Koppel
When people think of the Christian Reformation led by Martin Luther, they often think of Luther’s campaign to end the sale of indulgences (certificates to release souls from purgatory, a made up place, to go directly to heaven.) Luther believed that the church was taking money under false pretenses from people who couldn’t afford it.
But that’s not the only reform that Luther wanted. Luther led the way to “contemporary” music in worship. Legend has it that he took typical songs that he heard in taverns and wrote new words to the music, so it would have Christian themes and could be sung at worship. Of course, the most famous example of this is when he set Psalm 46 to popular music—“A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
Luther also advocated for priests and nuns to be able to get married. In fact, he later married a nun, Katharina von Bora.
He wrote a worship service in German so the local people could understand it. At the time, worship was in Latin and most people in Germany didn’t speak or understand Latin.
Luther also translated the New Testament into German so people would be able to read it themselves. They would know the Word of God, and not have to go to a priest or Bishop to find out what it is.
He wanted people to understand that God loves them, and that God wants us all to be part of His family. He wanted them to know that it wasn’t about what they did that got them into heaven, it’s about what God has already done.
He wanted us to know that God has already claimed us, so we do good works as a way of saying thank you and living out our new family name.
These are the ideas that sparked the Reformation and changed the world.
Lutheran Christians are still reformers. People still look at what we are doing and check it against the Bible. We are also the Christian group in the world that has more connections, more dialogues, and more cooperation with other church bodies than any other—and that includes our continuing dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Reformation isn’t over—it continues every day.
In his grip,