Tag Archives: Reformation_Sunday

Spirit Space: Reformation Day

Standard

On October 31 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 Theses (propositions) on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church as an invitation to debate the sale of indulgences for forgiveness. That event sparked a reform movement that eventually led to a Lutheran church and separate denominations. While there is much sorrow in the disunity which the Reformation caused, Luther did establish the idea that the Church is always in need of reform in the light of the gospel. Luther’s primary principal that Christians are justified by God’s grace through faith in Christ has also found universal acceptance among denominations. Today we pray for church unity, for the purity of God’s word, and for a church that is always open to reform and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Oh comfort us in death’s approaching hour,
Strong-hearted then to face it by Thy power.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
Make us to taste the sweet grace found in Thee
And ever stay in Thy sweet unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Oh grant to us such stronger help and sure,
That we can boldly conquer and endure.

(words attributed to John Calvin)

~~~~~~~

Job 1.6-12

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.’ Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Advertisements

with the word online bible study: God’s power and difficult times

Standard

Habakkuk 1.1-6, 2.1-2

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous— therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told. For I am rousing the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous nation, who march through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not their own.

I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.

~~~

What pops out at you in this vision/prophecy/poetry/prayer? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

Have you ever felt this way, or can you identify with these words? How did you handle that situation?

One of the core tenets of the Reformed theological tradition is the Sovereignty of God–that God has authority and power over all things. How do you see that theology at work in this text?  How do you see that theology at work in the world, or in the life of our community?  What does it mean that God has authority and power over all things?

What do you hear as the good news in these stories? What do you hear as a challenge? What might these texts have to say to our community today?

October 28

Standard

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Humility: good. Exalting self: bad. Discuss.

I’ve always been intrigued by the roots of the word “humility.” Humus=earth. Being humble means sticking close to the earth, close to the ground. It means remembering where you come from, staying rooted. “Exalting self” would mean trying to “fly free” from the earth (which is impossible), forgetting where we come from, trying to plant roots in the sky (which doesn’t work very well). Could it be that in some of the “escapist” versions of Christianity (focused on being caught up in heaven) there’s a subtle self-exaltation at work? I don’t know where the sermon is in all of this, but it’s interesting (to me, anyway).

~~Richard