From Pastor Preuss…
“When our Lord Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” It is with those words that Martin Luther began the 95 Theses that he posted to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. So began the Reformation, which among other things led to the birth of the church that bears Luther’s name (named Lutheran not by Luther, but by his opponents!). In the 95 Theses, Luther goes on to say that by repentance Jesus does not mean private confession to a priest who might then pronounce a sort of “conditional” forgiveness; but the believer’s turning to the Lord who does graciously forgive all of our sin. That is the key to our relationship with our Lord; it is that he is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” It is the consistency between that truth and God’s righteousness that prompted Luther to write what he did, and for God through him to begin the Reformation.
Whereas the Roman Church taught that our righteousness was most important in maintaining our relationship with the Lord, by God’s Spirit Luther was led to see that it is God’s faithfulness to his promises that is the heart of the Gospel. And it is for this reason that we can trust God for his forgiveness and love, and follow our Lord in trying to live the life to which he calls each of us. This year we celebrate the Rite of Confirmation for our young people on October 29, which is the Sunday closest to the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. In the Rite of Confirmation our young people are “confirmed” by our Lord and his love for them because God does keep his promise made to them in baptism that he is their God and they are his children. The confirmands also “confirm” that they know and believe this is who they are, and that they are growing and will continue to grow as children of God called to follow Jesus in loving others and caring for God’s world.
Because it is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation’s beginning, we will also celebrate that great event with a special worship service at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31. The worship service will be preceded by a “German dinner” (brats, sauerkraut, potato salad, strudel, and more) served by our United Sisters. The cost for the dinner is $6, with reservations required. More details about the dinner will follow in October.