Title: 4 Ways to Celebrate Reformation Day
Artwork by: YMI
Adapted from: Article by Ashley Ashcraft
Description: On this day 503 years ago, a German monk named Martin Luther published a list of grievances against the Catholic Church. He nailed this list—which later came to be called the 95 Theses—to the door of the chapel at the University of Wittenberg, and this ignited a movement. All of Europe, and eventually the whole world, would feel the effects of Luther driving the nail into his list.
For many of us, we might not fully appreciate the importance of the Reformation, or understand what it’s all about. But it was a truly revolutionary event—this lone monk standing up against the powers that be to call for reform and truth.
For this reason, we should not let October 31 pass us by without remembering the work God has done in His body—the Church—during that momentous time. Here are 4 ideas to help us celebrate the Reformation.
1. Get a Physical Copy of the Bible out and Read it—Starting with Romans!
When Luther translated the New Testament into German, it was a revolutionary move: the people no longer had to rely on those who could read Latin to translate for them, but could read it for themselves.
In a day and age when we have Bibles everywhere, literally at our fingertips on our phones, it can be easy to forget the people who dedicated their lives to making sure we could read the Scriptures in our own language. I encourage you to get a physical copy of the Bible out, flip through the pages, and read it. Read it with a grateful heart and mind, and the realization that to have your own copy, and to have it in a language you can read, is a monumental gift.
If you’re wondering where to begin, perhaps start with the book of Romans, a letter from Paul that was very influential and life-changing for Luther himself. It was Romans 1:17 that changed Luther’s life: “The righteous will live by faith.”
2. Gather Your Friends for a Watch Party and Screen the Movie Luther
If you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend it! Made in 2003, Luther is an excellent portrayal of the events of the Reformation. While some details are highlighted or added for the sake of storytelling, it does tell us the bulk of the story. And, better yet, it is captivating. I show this movie to my students every year, and they love it. They clap at some parts; they cry at others. And they don’t want it to be over when it ends. That’s a good recommendation!
This movie is rated PG-13, so put the littles to bed tonight, pop some popcorn, head on over to Amazon, and watch this film. You’ll be glad you did!
3. Reflect On What God Has Done Through His People—and How You Can Do the Same!
October 31 is a good opportunity for us to set up a pillar (1 Samuel 7) or stones of remembrance (Joshua 4), and take some purposeful time to remember what God has done among His people through Luther and those who stood with him.
What we had then was a church suffering from years of corruption; we saw people seeking unity, but not at the cost of truth. We had a man willing to stand up to this corruption, and we saw a handful of supporters rallying behind this bold leader. What does that mean for us today? Here are some questions to think about and discuss with your loved ones this evening:
How should we actively seek unity and truth in our local church communities today?
When is it right to stand up to authority?
What does obedience look like for you right now?
Who are your people who will encourage you and champion your calling?
4. Take the Time to Learn More About the Reformation
One last way to celebrate the Reformation today would be to spend a bit of time learning about the events and important players of the time.
Start by looking up the 95 Theses. Then, look into the issues that dominated the Reformation, such as indulgences, purgatory, the power of the pope, and the five solas. Check out key people like Pope Leo X, John Tetzel, Prince Frederick, and Katarina Von Bora. All of these people played important roles in Luther’s life and in the Reformation. Maybe even add a few Reformation trivia questions to your evening! Knowing this story will help us appreciate what happened, as well as how the events of the Reformation affect our churches today.