Today millions of Americans will take their children trick or treating in an effort to get as much candy as possible and show off their cute costumes. We call today Halloween in America. Its roots are in a pagan holiday that is somewhat confusing, but it is said to be a Druid’s creation. However, it is also All Saints Eve. The day before the day where the church celebrates those saints who went before us.
Today is also the 500th anniversary of the nailing of the 95 theses to the door of the castle of Wittenberg in what is now Germany, the beginning of the Reformation. The issue of the day was the selling of indulgences: money in exchange for the freeing of a loved one’s soul from purgatory. The money would be used to fund more buildings for Catholic Church in Rome. A little-known monk, Martin Luther, took issue with that idea and created 95 theses, or assertions about the church and his understanding of the Christian faith.
Among these were the ideas that we have a clear path to God through Christ and that we are unable to earn our way to salvation through indulgences or for that matter anything we do. He used Ephesians 2:8-9 to prove his point:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Out of Luther’s dissent came the Protestant movement that birthed the Lutheran church and many others. I awoke early today and watched the news and have listened off and on to the news and have heard not a mention of today being the 500th anniversary of the most important historic day in history after the birth of Christ. I read the Dennison Forum each day and was directed to an excellent article with much more history, here it is, I highly recommend it.
I practice my faith in a Protestant tradition and trace my roots to the Lutheran Church. What would the world look like had Luther not taken the time to write and post his thoughts? Many Christians will stay home tonight in protest of an evening they think is carnal, but I have a feeling Luther would have taken his little ones out to enjoy the festivities and celebrate the freedoms we have in Christ.
Happy Reformation Day and until next time, peace.