While the vast majority of the world around us is focusing on today as the sugar-coated, pumpkin-carved extravaganza known as Halloween, a very small and almost invisible cadre of people are spending today reflecting upon an almost-500 year old event that changed the world. On October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther - troubled by the beliefs and practices of the Church - nailed a list of his problems with the church practice of selling indulgences, a list that would become known as the 95 Theses.
The events of that day in the German town of Wittenburg changed the future of the western world in deep and profound ways. What followed in what today is known as the Protestant Reformation, a period of history in which not only the church, but everything from politics to society was radically re-formed throughout much of Europe - a transformation whose effects impact our world today.
Here are a number of reflections on the contemporary significance of the Reformation - I won't reduplicate the work of those who have so masterfully laid out the historic situation and outworkings of this period of time. If you go looking for it, there are some really helpful and encouraging reminders that the biblical, theological implications of the Reformation still speak powerfully and deeply into our world.
For me this year, I think that the themes of mission and community and kingdom are areas of thought and life in the church today that most desperately need to be re-formed, re-directed, and re-energized at our church in Watkinsville and within the Church throughout American evangelicalism. I'm on vacation, so I can't give a ton of time to this but what I'm hoping and praying for myself, my family and our church is 1) that we might be captivated by a biblical vision of 'saving the world' and doing anything and everything we can to re-create the world back to God's original design; 2) that our relationships might be marked by biblical love - grace where grace must be extended and truth where truth must be extended, for God's glory and the good of the world and the joy of our hearts; and 3) that we might come to see the kingdom of God as something that definitely includes, but is much bigger than the local church. It's not just the 'spiritual' stuff that matters - everything counts because Christ is central and supreme over all things.
I'd love to hear your comments/stories about where you see God working in your life, in your church - or simply the places in your world that you're praying for God to redeem and renew. Fire away.