Tag Archives: turbulent

Martin Luther and #Reformation500

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 29, 2017

Martin Luther stained glass

Martin Luther and #Reformation500

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran minister, theologian and seminary professor. I am not certain, but I suspect he might have been pleased to celebrate with much of the Protestant world this year. Celebrate what? Martin Luther and his posting of the 95 theses, of course.

Today is a festive day in the church. Reformation Sunday, the last Sunday in October every year when we remember the bravery and determination of Father Martin Luther, Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. He was brave and determined for nailing up the 95 theses (or, grievances) against the Catholic Church on the door of the Wittenberg chapel on All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517.

500 years! A huge anniversary, indeed. I care very much about this celebration. I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran and spent two full years studying Luther’s Small Catechism in confirmation preparation. Yes, Martin Luther and his theology are important to me and to my personal history of faith.

I’ve preached on the five “Solas” (or, “onlies”) of the Protestant Reformation throughout the month of October. I started the month with Sola Scriptura, then Soli Deo Gloria on October 8th. Solus Christus on October 15th, Sola Gratia on October 22nd, and today—Reformation Sunday—my text was Romans 3:28, and I preached on Sola Fide. These phrases are the hallmarks of the Reformation! I was so pleased to research these important scriptural ideas and preach messages on them to commemorate such a foundational event.

The posting of the 95 Theses was not supposed to cause a rift in Christianity. No, Martin wanted to reform his beloved Church from the inside. However, due to many internal and some external reasons, it did not happen. Luther founded the denomination that bears his name to this day. (Also, several other streams of Protestants sprang forth at this turbulent time of the 1500’s. Sadly, many bloody battles were fought over religious and theological differences. This has not stopped today. However, new cries for ecumenism have been heard for the past few decades. After several hundred years of separation, now, at least, there are also calls for joining together.

Perhaps fractured Christianity might come closer together, in our time. One can dream. One can hope.

Let us pray, using the words of President Abraham Lincoln (adapted): “Grant, O merciful God, that with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as You give us to see the right, we may strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the world’s wounds….to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jesus loves me, this I know

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

As I was praying this morning, I read some more of a passage in the New Testament. I’ve been working through this extended passage for some three weeks. (With a hesitation/break included. You can read more about it in my previous blog post. http://wp.me/p43g3i-5u)

In my reading today, the scripture passage ended with 1 John 4:16a. I especially focused on the words of the first section of this verse. “So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.” I reflected on the fact that I came to realize, very early, that God loved me.

I grew up in an unchurched home in Chicago. My parents were born and raised Catholic, but they chose not to raise their children in any particular church. I still—to this day—don’t know exactly why I started to attend the Lutheran church in my neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, but I did attend, from a young age. And, I was blessed to be taught about God’s love by the pastor of that church. God is the Good Shepherd, One who loves me and takes care of me. (Thank you, Pastor Wold!) I learned that God’s love was “deep and wide,” and that “Jesus loves me.” I learned much more as I went through confirmation class, too.

This morning, I continued to reflect on how I came to begin to understand the amazing, boundless love of God. I also thought of people who don’t have a positive experience with God. Or, God’s love. They grow up with the idea of a punishing God. Or, a capricious God. Or, with absolutely no idea of God at all. This reflection brought me to tears. I realized how blessed I was, having had a concept of a loving, caring God in my life! This probably helped me through my turbulent teenage years. I shudder to think what my teens and twenties would have been like . . .

And now, knowing God intimately for as long as I have, I can no more think of a life without God than a life without breathing. Thank You, God!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for leading me to You. I can’t even remember how I came to You, at first, but I did start. And, I kept attending church. Even though I wended and wandered in my way, even though we might not be faithful in gathering with Your flock, that doesn’t make any difference. You love us! You keep drawing us closer and closer to You. Thank You, Lord! Thanks for those lessons I had early in life. And, thanks for the continued assurance of Your love, caring and nurture. It’s in Jesus’ blessed name we pray, amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net