Today we take the time to give thanks for the life and message of Martin Luther and the many men and women of the Reformation.
We remember those themes that still resonate in our lives as Lutherans today:
Grace alone! [that is through Christ alone!]
Faith alone! [apart from our works]
In our world today these themes are so beaten down and twisted – if they can be heard at all – even in the church at large.
A sad example of how the church and society have gotten away from the basics of the Christian faith is yesterday’s edited interview of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz which was printed in Scranton Times-Tribune. The Archbishop is the President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and he was in town speaking at the Conference on disABILITY at the University of Scranton. I wish I could have heard him speak at the conference, but here in this substantial interview that focused on disabilities, but also ranged to the church’s use of technology, to homosexuality and evolution, the thing that I noticed right away is that he never spoke of Christ or sin or salvation. Never did he mention or refer to scripture! We see that the true power of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ (which has direct bearing on each those issues he spoke about) has been simply stripped from our Christian faith! Even high leaders in the church are somehow stricken dumb by Satan and the world and cannot utter the name of Jesus. They try to find any explanation they can other than sin to explain the problems of the world.
I contributed a comment to the article online and I submit it for your consideration here:
I have no idea what was really said in the interview, since it was edited, I just want to say that this article is another example of how we have stripped sin, Jesus, and salvation from Christianity. “Every blessed one of us – because of aging and because this life on Earth is not permanent – will have disabilities.” the Archbishop is quoted as saying. Whatever happened to the problem of sin and its consequences on our lives? Even the “innocent”? On the one hand, we know our fallen creation results in disability and death for all of us, and we should never say someone is disabled because of their particular sin… however the Lord wants to make it perfectly clear that even in the midst of our sin God is present and desires healing for us, and that he will be glorified through His grace and mercy upon us in our disability and weakness…
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9:1-7 ESV)
So Blessed Reformation Day to you! Let Jesus be the heart and soul of our Reformation lives together! Let the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ reign in our lives and thrill us at every turn. Amen.