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Why we should celebrate Reformation Sunday

It's Reformation Sunday this week in Protestant circles, which for us
Lutherans means we're into the season of questioning the benefit of the
thing.  One particularly well-stated article was posted by Clint Schnekloth at

As it stands, Reformation Sunday is the only Sunday of the entire church
year that commemorates a moment in the history of Christianity rather
than a moment in the narrative of Scripture itself. It is elevated and
idealized precisely because it is so unique. This needs to stop.

Clint is absolutely right.  Reformation Sunday
shouldn't be a celebration of one moment in the history of
Christianity.  But I would argue that we should change how we celebrate
Reformation Sunday rather than bury it, as Clint has recommended.

Why?  Because it's not THE Reformation Sunday.  True, we've set
our liturgical calendar to commemorate the date on which Brother Martin
posted his 95 theses for public consideration (a mythology I'll address
on Sunday in my sermon).  However, one could (and I believe should)
point out that there have been moments like this throughout the church's
history, all of which are worthy of being called reformation moments,
moments where the church has been re-oriented toward the gospel, moved
away from the many, many roads down which our distracted, narcissistic
minds can take us.

It's been well documented that Luther was horrified when he heard people referring to themselves as "Lutherans."  "I ask that my name be left silent and people not call themselves Lutheran, but rather
Christians. Who is Luther? The doctrine is not mine. I have been crucified for no one," said the good Doctor. Citation 
You could take this argument and add it to the list of reasons to bury
Reformation Sunday.  But to do so would also be to hide the reasons FOR
celebration: those times when the Spirit has led the church kicking and
screaming into a new reality.  It's possible we are experiencing such a
time right now, and if so, we should give thanks and celebrate that the
Spirit continues to work in such fractured vessels as our beloved

Originally posted at Nachfolge

Scott Alan Johnson

Scott Alan Johnson is pastor of St. Petri Lutheran Church in Story City, Iowa. He blogs at Nachfolge, part of the CCblogs network.

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