We are approaching 2 monumental milestones. October 31, 2017 will mark 500 years since an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther spoke up for what he knew to be the truth about the Scriptures and about God, sparking the beginning of the Reformation. The day before All Saint’s Day, Luther posted 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, hoping to start a debate about some things going on in the Church. The Church had been fundraising for building the great St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by way of a spiritually deadly capital campaign: selling indulgences. The Church sold pieces of paper that essentially granted God’s forgiveness and favor.
The Reformation was never intended to split the church or to begin the splintering of Christianity to more groups than items on a Chinese takeout menu. Martin Luther and his followers never intended to bring about anything new, but only that we return to basing our faith, life, and practice on the One thing that will never change: Jesus and what he did for us.
Please join us on October 29 for one festive worship service at 10am, followed by a potluck. If you bring sauerkraut, I will be sure to have some! Also, sermons in October will use clips from the Luther movie, and explore biblical themes from the Reformation and his life.
Over 50 of you are planning to go to the Michigan District Reformation service at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, with 10,000 of your favorite Lutheran friends. Also, local churches have collaborated to commemorate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary. You can check out local events at www.refoholland.org
If you’d like to read up on the life of Martin Luther and the events 500 years ago, I encourage you to read Luther The Reformer by James Kittleson. It is accessible to read while providing a lot of history and insight.
October 29 we also begin celebrating Zion’s 125th anniversary. In the 1880’s a small group of Lutheran Christians gathered in the home of Anna Seif, whose husband, Anton Seif, ran and owned the Holland City Brewery. In 1893 the small group drafted a charter to officially form Zion. We will celebrate this milestone with periodic events, culminating with a big celebration on May 20. Many former pastors of Zion will come back to preach, including Rev. C. William Hoesman (Pastor, 1974-1987) on November 19.
Both anniversaries are occasions to celebrate the Gospel of Jesus. 500 years ago, God renewed his church by a rediscovery of the Gospel. 125 years ago, disciples here in Holland gathered to form this congregation, and God has been faithful here ever since.
Still Rejoicing in the Gospel,