- Disruptive technology that transforms the way that people receive and share information
- Massive changes in social norms and dynamics
- Scientific discoveries that were upending ideas that were long held
- Churches that were struggling to communicate and be relevant
- Nations in conflicts that seemed to be intractable
Sounds like 2017, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But it is also what was happening about 500 years ago in Europe. There was a lot of kindling for massive changes and many consider the spark to have been lit by a single hammer and nail affixing a list of 95 statements to the door of the village church in Wittenburg, Germany. Martin Luther was that monk and those 95 statements (or theses as they are often called) were his list of what he saw needed to be changed in the church. (I have copied a list of those statements to the end of this message just FYI). Luther didn’t do that intending to start what we now call the Reformation and he wasn’t alone in his concerns. There were many others at the time who were feeling similarly and everything came together at that time.
Many believe we are in a similar time and I count myself as one of them. There are so many dynamics at play in our world today that it feels like we are in such a similar time of upheaval, change, and yes… reformation. Just as Luther didn’t know what that looked like 500 years ago, so we don’t fully understand everything around us either. But we are called to be faithful to the Gospel call in the midst.
So, in remembering 500 years ago and in looking ahead to the next 5, 50, and 500 years of the church, we are going to spend the next 5 (see what I did there?) weeks in worship digging into the core ideas of the Reformation – The sovereign power of God, the centrality of God’s Word, the priesthood of all believers, the call to live by faith, and the gift of grace. Each of these ideas continues to speak to us today and form the shape of what the church will be in 2017 and beyond.
In addition, Pastor Lisa and I will be leading a time during the 10a hour going deeper into these ideas as well as the history of the Reformation in general. This time will be a mix of history, Bible study, discussion, and prayer for the Church of 2017 and beyond. I strongly encourage you to stay late after the 8a Sanctuary service or the 9a Visions service or come early before the 11a Sanctuary service to learn more and grow in what God is calling all of us to in this exciting (and yes sometimes a bit scary) time of change and transformation (and maybe Reformation 2.0)