Resurrection Lutheran Church of Dublin
7557 Amador Valley Blvd, Dublin, CA 94568 | email@example.com | 925.828.1580
A Word from Our Pastor
When we think of the Lutheran church, often the first thing that comes to mind is Martin Luther. At times though I wonder just how close we are to his true intentions when the Reformation began.
A good example of how far things can stray from our first intentions are the 95 Thesis he posted on the door of the church in Wittenberg. It was the custom of this Christian university to post invitations to specific debates on the church door and then set a time for all of those interested to meet in a public debate of the ideas or to use Luther’s term, thesis, that were posted. Even in this event which started the separation of the Protestant churches from the Roman Catholic Church was never in Luther’s understanding to have created any kind of division at all. Instead this was an attempt to create a dialog to correct some problems that needed to be addressed within the Church. His belief then and the official intent of the ELCA is that there is only one church and that we are only a reforming movement within that one church. This is a long way from the intense difficulties between Lutherans and Catholics in America in the 20th century.
Luther’s intent was to return the church to what he felt was the original intent of the Apostolic Community. It was a move away from a tradition oriented authoritarian bureaucracy toward a community centered people oriented gathering of people joined together in a common faith. History tells us that within a hundred Years of Luther’s death that the church was just as top heavy as it had ever been. So much for good intentions.
So just what do we mean when we use the term
reformation. On Reformation Sunday I give the kids a lump of play dough and
point out that though we can form different things it is still play dough
the essence remains the same. With the church though wen even small things
change people react as if it has been changed beyond recognition and is no
longer true to Jesus’ original intent. This kind of flies in the face or the
simple truth that Jesus, like Luther Never intended to form a Church. Almost
everybody is naturally conservative when it comes to change. The problem is
that change happens whether we want it to or not. It is kind of a creeping
process like old age and not usually for the best. As the church ages it
gets ridged, just like my joints. The process I went through to reform my
knees was pretty drastic. And as Luther found out so was the process he
started when he posted the 95 Thesis on the
necessary if we want to keep to Jesus original intent. Cultural creep
demands new form to communicate the same message. Once Latin was a language
understood by everyone, mow it is barely an intellectual curiosity.
Translating the Bible for the first time in over a thousand years into a
language people could understand was a long overdue reform. In our age we
are having to discover how to be a church when Christianity is no longer the
cultural norm. Ever since Constantine in 300 AD Christianity has been at the
center of Western civilization. Now it seems as if we have been shunted into
a backwater and out of the mainstream. How many of us realize that this is
really a return to the early church that St. Peter and Paul knew and is
nothing new at all? Reformation usually means the change has already
happened and we as a people of God need to respond to or be pushed out of
the way. It is not so much change for the sake of change as it is the
realization that we can either sink or swim.
Culture is constantly changing. For us that means that we must always be reforming the church in ways that can speak the same Good News that Jesus brought in new ways and different languages to a world that desperately needs it. Martin Luther did not start all this change and reformation stuff, Jesus did. To follow Jesus is always engage change, in our culture and within ourselves.
Pastor Jim Bliss