Today is Reformation Day, the day that in 1517 Fr. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Castle Church in Germany, starting the Protestant Reformation.
As somebody who has stood firmly on ‘both sides’ of the Protestant/Catholic divide, I’ve never been more convinced that today is a day that ought to be a day of conviction instead of celebration, a day that is a stark reminder that the Body of Christ is brutally divided. Diversity of thought is not bad:intentional accusations and the divisive nature of pride is.
The only thing needing reform today is our hearts…a decision to learn how to authentically listen. We tell the world to love our neighbor; and yet, most devout Christians become proud that they are not like ‘those Catholics’ or not like ‘those Protestants.’ We talk past each other, create straw men, accusing one another of things that aren’t true, and seeing the sins of a few to define the whole.
After today, which marks a day of division and faults and guilt to the entire Body of Christ, we have tomorrow, the feast of All Saints. We can thank God for all the saints, living here and living beyond death, saints who died Catholic and saints who died Protestant, for their witness to the Gospel and for allowing the Lord to use them to shine brilliantly amidst their friends and families.
“Eternal Father, we praise you for sending your Son to be one of us and to save us. Look upon your people with mercy, for we are divided in so many ways, and give us the Spirit of Jesus to make us one in love. We ask this gift, loving Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”