On this Reformation Sunday, I give thanks to God for raising up Martin Luther and the other Reformers to show us the truth of the Gospel – that we are not saved by/through works of the Law, but apart from the Law through the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are saved by Faith alone in Christ alone by God’s grace alone as revealed in the Word alone all to the glory of God alone. And so let pray together and sign God’s unending praise.
It is indeed right and our pleasure to give thanks and praise to You, oh God, our Creator and Redeemer. We are sinful creatures who only want to glorify ourselves – looking out for number one – but through the Law You have convicted us and showed us how we fall short. But through Jesus, You saved us through his death and resurrection. And now, through faith in him, You have given us hope. How can one not be excited about this? How can one not rise up and praise You? How can one not live out loud, proclaiming Your glory through word and deed? And so we do just that by joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…
Sunday, October 27 is Reformation Sunday. This is a day when we recognize a world-changing movement that God orchestrated through a group of ordinary and sinful men – most notably Martin Luther. Five hundred years later, many continue this “movement” which is nothing more than faithfulness to the Word of God. I pray every day that I remain faithful and stay true to the Word – not striving to tickle itching ears with a false gospel. This world needs scripture faithfulness in the midst of a plethora of false prophets. May I never be tempted to join the crowd.
So, God willing and through His Holy Spirit, I will continue in the footsteps of those first Reformers. The following is a prayer that I wrote that we will use as the Prayer of the Day on Reformation Sunday. May I always be faithful. To God be the glory. Amen.
Holy God, You have saved us by Your grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. Keep us steadfast in Your Word that we would live to Your glory. May we not be content with the status quo but, using the example of the Reformers, may we live out loud in the freedom that we have through the Gospel and stand strong in the mighty fortress that is You. To You be the glory, through Christ Jesus our Lord in union with the Holy Spirit, now and forever, Amen.
When praying for “daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer, we are not just praying for some good sourdough for supper (or dinner depending where you live). Daily bread is so much more than what we often think about. Martin Luther, in his explanation in the Small Catechism, offers a list of things included. To probe the depths of this petition requires more than a short post, but hopefully the following poem will begin to help you think more deeply about this petition when you pray, Give us this day our daily bread...
Give me this day my daily bread.
All that I need to live each day.
You’re my Provider and my God,
Putting Your glory on display.
Food and water and air I breathe.
Home and clothing and family.
Work and income and friends with me.
All these blessings come happily.
But there is more than what I see,
Your holy gifts are more complete.
Your grace extends beyond my eyes.
Your blessings just can not be beat.
What I need is Jesus my Lord,
the true and only living bread.
Without this awesome grace from You,
I would most certainly be dead.
But this bread is not mine alone.
You bless that I may give and give.
Turn my heart to see more than me.
Oh God, my greed, oh please forgive.
So may I see Your holy gifts;
returning to You praise that’s due.
Without this holy bread each day,
My days would certainly be few.
I am just going to leave this right here…
A Sacristy Prayer
by Martin Luther
You have appointed me as a Pastor in Your Church,
but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task.
If I had lacked Your help,
I could have ruined everything long ago.
Therefore, I call upon You:
I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you;
I shall teach the people.
I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon Your Word.
Use me as Your instrument —
but do not forsake me,
for if ever I should be on my own,
I would easily wreck it all.
This text was translated in 1999 for Project Wittenberg by James Kellerman and has been placed in the public domain by him. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text.
The Pastor -|—
as I prepare for worship this morning,
I am reminded of these beautiful words:
O Lord, my God,
when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
the universe displayed
And it is in awesome wonder
that I enter Your courts with praise.
It is in awesome wonder
that I lift my song to you.
It is in awesome wonder
that I offer my petitions, offerings and my very self
Oh Lord, my God,
You are my Truth,
And being such to me, may I go forth in
to be a beacon of Light;
standing firm on Your promises,
and not giving in to cultural demands.
May I always live in awesome wonder;
abiding in Your Word;
and being a reforming voice
in this world,
in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Pastor -|—
nearly 500 years ago, one man,
started a reformation that would change the Church
and the world forever.
we are not here to worship this man
but rather worship You through another man,
Your Son and our Savior,
For it is through Jesus’ death and resurrection
that we are made righteous in Your eyes.
It is through the Holy Spirit
that we come to know this truth.
It is through Your love
that we even have hope in the first place.
So I ask that Your Spirit may move
around us today
as we hear this Word of Truth from Your Holy Word.
May Your Word create, sustain or strengthen faith
and may it not return to You empty.
And through this Word of Truth,
may we be modern day
as we lead people to Your Son,
be unto You, holy God, through Christ Jesus our Lord,
The Pastor -|—
I’ve been a pastor for just over 10 1/2 years (plus a year of internship) and through that time I have preached a lot of sermons:
Community ecumenical services
And for the most part I have used a manuscript on multiple pieces of paper, until Aug 2013, when I bought a tablet. I then discovered the joy of preaching off my tablet and not fumbling with papers. It felt like I had left the stone age and entered modern times through a time machine or some kind of Star Trek wormhole.
Approximately one and a half years of preaching with technological bliss 🙂
That is the sound of my tablet up and dying on me. RIP 😦
And so I had to use paper in worship this past Sunday (oh the horror). And let me tell you, that was awkward. Amazing what one gets used to over time. In any case, I ordered a new tablet on Monday with a delivery date of TODAY 🙂
Yup…that’s right. I got sent the wrong one.
And now I have to suffer through another Sunday preaching in the stone age.
[Cue the weeping and gnashing of teeth]
My wife rolls her eyes at me but she just doesn’t understand the crisis I am in. I fear dropping pages off the pulpit and looking like a bumbling buffoon. Where is the wormhole when I need it. Hopefully Amazon can sense my pain and speed this delivery up, but I am not going to hold my breath. So in the mean time, I need to start stone age training again; getting my paper holding fingers back into shape.
It is in cases like this I am glad that the proclamation of the Word is not up to me; because in the words of Martin Luther, I would surely bring it all to ruin.
Oh well, wish me luck.
Come, Holy Spirit.
The Pastor -|—
There are really no words to explain this picture. Sometimes you just have to lighten up and have some fun. But replacing Joseph and Mary with Martin and Katie Luther bobble head dolls might be going a little too far though 🙂
Have a very fun and merry Christmas!
The pastor -|—
Blessings to you this Reformation Sunday.
Sorry, but I do not have a prayer to post this morning. My “smart” clock once again got the best of me and set itself back on hour this morning. Hence…I overslept; throwing off my routine. I pray that the Holy Spirit may speak to your heart this morning; moving you to action and inspiring you to proclaim freedom for the captives.
So in the words of one of my favorite hymns:
”No strength of ours can match is might! We would be lost, rejected. But now a champion comes to fight, whom God himself elected. You ask who this may be? The Lord of hosts is he! Christ Jesus, mighty Lord, God’s only Son, adored! He holds the field victorious.” (Vs. 2 of A Mighty Fortress)
I know that there are many various beliefs on what kind of bread “should” be used for Holy Communion. Among the various beliefs is the popular notion that it must be unleavened bread. I know scripture talks about unleavened bread. I for one have never used it for Holy Communion…not that I am against it, I just haven’t used it. Here at Salem we have used flat bread, bread machine bread, super market bread, bread bowl bread, wafers, etc. My main criteria is that I don’t want any sliced bread. But at our final First Communion class I asked the kids and parents if they wanted to make their own bread or just have me take care of it. One of the students suggested that they would like cinnamon bread.
…because bread is bread…right?
In Luther’s Small Catechism, Luther poses the question: How can eating and drinking do all this? He then answers his question by saying “It is not eating and drinking that does this, but the words, ‘given and shed for you for the remission of sins’. These words, along with eating and drinking, are the main thing in the sacrament. And whoever believes these words has exactly what they say, forgiveness of sins.” That says to me that bread is bread…and what is important is hearing the words of promise. So…is cinnamon bread OK?
My faith tells me that it is OK…but I can see how some people might be a little put off and maybe even a little offended. So with that I go back to Paul where he says that if eating meat causes someone to stumble in their faith, then I won’t eat meat (etc…). Basically…he won’t exercise his Christian freedom in such a way that might cause someone who is weaker in the faith to stumble. I can respect that.
But then I was thinking that I could explain the cinnamon as representing the “sweetness of Christ”. I am not sure if that would fly. So I don’t know.
Would you use cinnamon bread for Holy Communion or any other “usual” bread?
Just something I am pondering…