Pastor’s Email Devotion — Guest Devotioneer, Pastor Sarah
The Week following Reformation Sunday
October 25, 2015
Today we celebrated Reformation Sunday at St. Peter’s. We annually celebrate and remember leaders like Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon and their fellow reformers who courageously spoke out against some of the abuses they witnessed occurring in their beloved church. They sought to make the church a reflection of the kingdom, so that all people could know God’s love through Jesus Christ.
Fundamental to Luther’s work was getting God’s word, our holy scripture, into the hands of princes, merchants, laborers, moms, dads and children. Five hundred years ago very few people had access to the Bible, and very few could read for themselves the story of God. In fact, many leaders of the church didn’t know this story very well. Luther sought to change this, so that all may have God’s Word in their hands. Luther called the Holy Scripture “the cradle wherein Christ is laid.”
Luther also worked tirelessly to provide a catechism about the faith, written in plain language for everyday sort of folks. He intended the Catechism for the entire Christian community – children, parents and guardians, pastors and teachers – for their whole lives. For the first time in the history of the church, ordinary people had the story of God in their hands. They had this information that they could learn and then teach to their loved ones.
But that was 500 years ago. A lot has changed.
A month ago I traveled to a conference where Rev. Dr. David Lose was giving a presentation on the church in the 21st century. He said something that surprised me. “Every single day of our lives we are subjected to more new information in a day than a person in the middle ages in his entire life!”
There is a lot of information coming our way! Where the average person in 1515 thirsted for a drop of information, the average person in 2015 gets information like water through a fire hose. We get blasted with it!
So much so, that the Word of God may get lost in the waterfall of all the other information that comes your way. Where our ancestors who lived 500 years ago may have felt disconnected from God’s love because they lacked the information, we may feel disconnected from God’s love because of the lack of meaning to that information.
So what can we do?
We can throw our hands in the air and blame culture, or blame our phones or our tvs or our lack of time, but I would guess this would lead us to despairing moments of self-loathing or general blame.
Perhaps we start small.
- Perhaps it’s acquainting (or reacquainting) yourself with the Small Catechism. If you need a copy, ask us for one or take a look in your ELW hymnal. The Small Catechism is a great tool that helps us with the building blocks of faith. We’re never too big to go small!
- Maybe we begin each day with a question: “Almighty God, what do you want me to learn today?” May this simple prayer help diffuse the firehose of information into a life-giving spring.
- Perhaps this is the time for you to join a conversation with others about God’s story. Martin Luther was famous for his “table talks” where he would invite some people around his table, have a good meal (and sometimes a pint) and learn about God. How can you do that today? (Attend a Sunday School class, come to a Bible study, get together with friends and study) If you’re looking for ideas don’t be shy to ask your church leaders…we LOVE it when you do.
Friends, I pray that we all can keep growing and learning about the faith. It honors our ancestors, it gives thanks to our reformers’ brave work, and it strengthens our relationship with God and each other.