“Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.”
“Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.”
“Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.”
-Thesis 43, 46, and 50 of Luther’s 95 Theses,
All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517
It’s been 500 years since Dr. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door in Germany, but his concern for the vulnerable and the poor, his fiery disdain against abuses, especially among God’s people, could have just as easily been born out of our own context, today.
Today, most of us speak very little of “papal indulgences,” but with eyes of faith we still see, with Luther, the seeds of Christian protestation–Jesus begging for bread and crying out for relief from the pains of sin, sickness, and injustice, through our own lives, and in the lives of our neighbors near and far.
Still Jesus speaks to us as Jesus spoke to Luther, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was in prison, and you visited me.” Still Jesus longs with us for the Reign of God’s Love, where “the last shall be first,” and “the hungry will have their fill.” Still, Jesus calls us into paths of justice and righteousness, on the long march toward Love.
In this 500th year of the Lutheran Reformation, and in this season of All Saints, each Sunday we will be celebrating not only Reformation Day, and the reformer from whom our brand of Christianity derives its name, Martin Luther, but also many Saint-Sinners, the faithful who have gone before us, who have also witnessed the world’s brokenness, felt the pain of the world as it is, and heeded God’s call toward compassion, community, justice and peace. I am hopeful that this will be quite inspiring and edifying for our personal faiths, and for our community.
Each of these individuals or movements is not identical to the other. But each witnessed the world from their own context, and acted in faith to live God’s love, and to empower others to do so in their own times and places.
Here’s the saintly line-up! Can’t wait to see you here at First Trinity!
October 1, Saint Marcella (310-425);
October 8, Saint Francis (ca.1181-1226), and pet blessing day in his honor; Story share by Dan Pugh
October 15, Jarena Lee (1783 – 1864);
October 22, Bartolome de las Casas (1484-1566);
October 29, Martin Luther (1485-1546), and Reformation Day – The 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation!; Story share by Kyle Cruz;
November 5, All Saints/Dia de los Muertos, We’ll be honoring all of our forebears in Christ, and reflect a little on Matteo Ricci, Missionary (1552-1610); Story share by Alicia Ibarra
November 12, Jewish Roots and Reformations with special guest speaker Rabbi Brant Rosen;
November 19, Interfaith and Ecumenical Movements of this century;
And November 26 is Thanksgiving!