October 31 is celebrated as Reformation Day. The Protestant Reformation was a movement intended to reform ecclesial authority from within the Roman Catholic Church. It is celebrated alongside All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) in remembrance of the onset of the Reformation.
31 October 1517 was the day German pastor Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.
Exactly 500 years ago, in 1522, Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. On the occasion of the anniversary, the Lutheran World Federation is celebrating 2022 as a Year of the Bible. For Lutherans, the Word is Jesus Christ, God made flesh. Christ comes to us today, in the words of Scripture, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in service to the neighbour. These actions constitute worship – worship centered on three central things: water (baptismal font), a book (Scripture), and a table (communion with God and neighbour).
Hymn: “A Sturdy Shelter Is Our God”
Shalom Rendering of “A Mighty Fortress”
A sturdy shelter is our God,
Whose refuge holds securely.
God restrains the rising tide
In which our world is swirling.
With dangers all around
We fear that we shall drown.
From harm God would protect
Each child from neglect.
We praise God’s loving nurture.
If we depend upon ourselves,
Our strength is insufficient.
We need the One who knows us well,
Who’s with God coefficient.
In every age the same
Christ Jesus is his name,
Prince of Peace, Emmanuel
Chooses with us to dwell
And we may trust this mercy.
And though this world with violence spins
Poised to harm the victim,
We need not fear for Christ undoes
Our scapegoat blaming system.
Who bends to wash our feet,
With love all hate defeats,
To still the rage and mend,
Turns stranger into friend,
Commanding us do likewise.
The Word of God hides in the poor,
Invites us there to find him.
Jesus is begging at our door,
Awaiting us to feed him.
With bread and wine the means
Through which Christ would be seen
Among the very least;
We are the kingdom’s yeast.
These are the things that make for peace.
© Craig L. Nessan, 2017
Hymn: Our God, We Are a Church Reformed
AZMON 126.96.36.199 (“O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”)
Our God, we are a church reformed,
A church reforming still:
We long to grow in your true Word,
And follow more your will.
How awesome is your sovereign rule;
You reign from heav’n above.
Yet you knelt down in Jesus Christ,
In sacrificial love.
In love, you bring your people here
And call your church to you,
That we may know salvation’s joy
And serve in all we do.
You call us to community;
By faith our hearts are stirred.
In church, we seek an ordered life,
According to your Word.
As faithful stewards we find joy;
We need no rich display.
Lord, teach us all to use with care
The gifts you give each day.
The world makes gods of lesser things,
And wrongly uses power;
So by your Spirit may we work
For justice every hour.
This hymn is based on “Faith of the Reformed Tradition,” Book of Order, F-2.05.
Text: © 1998 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Carolyn also has another suitable hymn, By Grace We Have Been Saved Through Faith. It is on her website.