Friday, October 27, 2017
Luther's Journey Of Faith, Courage, and Obedience
This coming Sunday our small micropolitan city will hold a joint service at the college. It is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 4 ELCA churches will worship as one. Joel was in Gutenburg, Germany during the 450th year......and here it is, 50 years later and we are celebrating Martin Luther and the Reformation.
We watched the movie "Luther" this week from the comforts of our living room. It is part of Joel's preparation for his sermon next Sunday. Not for the joint service here in town, but for the smallest of congregations he fills in at an hour away. A country church that worships 15-20 people on a good Sunday morning. They are unable to sustain a pastor, but wanting to keep the doors of their church open for worship. They are an active group, willing to sacrifice and serve to keep going for as long as they can. I expect Martin Luther would smile at their determination.
What Luther did was courageous, bold, crazy, and out of obedience to God. He did what he felt God was calling him to do, but it was costly, messy, and at times scary. He studied the scriptures in depth and from his studies came a rebelling of what had become at that time a corrupt Catholic church. He sought the Lord in his studies and found grace. Grace for the people. That grace led him into the Reformation and Protestantism was born.
Joel's and my histories run deep in the Lutheran church. His great grandparents gave the land and helped build a church in NW Minnesota.....my great grandparents gave the land and helped build a church in SE Minnesota. Joel's parents were active in their country church, located just a quarter mile from the family farm. My parents story is much different, but as a young child I was periodically taken to church by one sister, and eventually raised in the church by my oldest sister and family. Joel and I met at The Lutheran Bible Institute in Mpls. MN. Our children were raised in the Lutheran Church where dad preached. Definitely a foundation rooted in Jesus and the Lutheran Church.
Our journey has taken us many places and we have sat in the pews and chairs of a variety of denominational and non-denominational churches. While in Albuquerque NM (Air Force) we used to attend a Sat night Catholic Mass with a guitar playing priest.....it was the 60's! In Duluth two years later we would attend and Joel even preached at a Lutheran church Sunday mornings. Sunday evenings we would head with friends downtown to The Tabernacle ~ a large Assembly type church. It is where I first heard the gift of praying in tongues. In the Philippines from 1974-76 we attended an interdenominational church on Clark Air Base, took part in a Baptist Serviceman's club off base, and I was part of a wonderful interdenominational group of women who gathered weekly in private homes. The first time I was prayed for and received physical healing was with those woman.
Once Joel went to seminary our places of worship were confined to only the Lutheran Church where Joel served. For 32 years we graced their pews, walking with the ELCA through many changes. Now, with Joel retired but still filling in, we still often sit in Lutheran houses of worship, but we also go to other non-denominational churches that embrace more of the prophetic, charismatic, and healing.
We never expected to be on such a journey, but like Martin Luther, and all of the "ordinary" people, we are trying to walk in obedience to God. Forever grateful to our great grandparents for their sustaining faith and obedience to God, forever grateful for hear the Word as children and receiving Jesus into our lives, forever grateful for our children knowing and serving God, and forever grateful for God beckoning us to more. We celebrate this weekend the foundation of the Protestantism and especially the Lutheran church through Martin Luther and the large roll it has played in our faith and the faith of so many others.