The leaves are turning, and the air is crisp. We are saying goodbye to the warmth of summer (at least most days), and hello to our sweatshirts and jeans, pumpkins and changing leaves.
On October 23 and 27, we at Bethel will celebrate one of our fall festivals, Reformation. 500 years ago, an Augustinian priest named Martin Luther challenged the Roman church to abandon all the practices that drew people away from God. He listed them and put them on the local bulletin board – the door of the church in Wittenberg.
Some of us know parts of the story. The church didn’t like it. There was a trial. Luther was found guilty of treason towards the church. A rich benefactor hid Martin for over year, as Martin continued to study, write and translate the Bible into German – the language of his people.
Really Martin was an ordinary guy. He likely drank too much. He was extremely generous to his friends and students,
often times putting his family at risk. Martin struggled with seasons of depression. Martin was an academic with sometimes little attachment to the practical requirements of the world. AND... he was a great thinker. He had the ability to see when the actions of God’s people, the church, were drawing God’s followers away from God. He used his voice to teach and educate those followers, that they might know God more deeply, and follow God more closely.
Martin taught us an important truth about God: God does extra-ordinary things through ordinary people. He called us sinner and saint at the same time. We were created to be completely fabulous, able to do amazing things for God and in God’s world, because God made us in God’s image. AND, we are completely capable of being a hot mess at the very same time. We are sinful.
But you see, God still chooses us! God still longs to use us, totally fabulous or hot mess, to accomplish God’s work. We are invited to be God’s voice lifting the amazing in God’s people.
So, this year for our Reformation celebration, I invite you to watch with me. Watch for those whose very lives are amazing. Watch for those ordinary ones who show God’s love and mercy through ordinary and extra-ordinary ways. Share with us how God is lovingly reforming us each day through God’s presence in and through us. For God is going to amazing lengths to show us how loved and special we are.
See you at the Reformation celebration!