Inconceivable Reform

It's a classic tale: The Reformation. Capital "T" on "the" as if to indicate it was a single event: when Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the door, the light switch was flipped, minds were illuminated, and life went on as normal. People jumped on the bandwagon of reform, happy to follow something new and untried and different, ecstatic to break the oppressive back of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, which everyoneknew was the only bastion of Christianity in the world. While that organization tried to staunch the flow of souls from seeping out the exit wound caused by the nail, the new enlightened church came to being fully formed and peaceful and perfect, without further need for self-examination or change. 

Well, that's the highly sanitized version, with a few alternative facts.

In reality, the reformation was less a movement, and more an idea. From the very beginning of Christianity, there have been different schools of thought about nearly everything that the church is about, even to the very nature of Jesus Christ and the relationship of the Trinity, what is communion, the role of baptism, and how do believers earn a place in heaven. In the 1500's when Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the door of the church, the delivery method was not really outside of the ordinary. Today, we have Twitter rants and long Facebook posts. Even less than a generation ago, Letters to the Editor published in newspapers were the most common method of public discourse. The church door used to be the central hub, the common bulletin board, because every person in town would have reason to enter the door and see the posts pinned up there. Luther's list was really just a repost compiled of other ideas already pinned and spoken about for over a century.

Reformation Sunday, celebrated in Protestant Churches around one static day, must be more than a singular event. It should inspire us to self-examination, individually and as churches, presbyteries, synods, and assemblies. Where have we fallen short of God's message, Christ's example, the inspiration of the Spirit? The Reformation should challenge us to find where we can each be always re-forming our selves, be it back to the gift of simplicity or to a new challenge to stretch horizons.

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