Pastor Dan
October 2017

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It's finally here!! The month of October and that means within this month stands October 31, 2017 marking the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther initiating desired discussion within his Roman Catholic tradition, heritage and church with 95 pointed statements. We have come to know these statements as the 95 Theses which were made public in Wittenberg on this date in 1517. The actions of Martin Luther began the Reformation and from these roots come much of our modern day understandings of health, education, politics and religion.

In my college days, I used to spend time on the potter's wheel. To re-form a piece of pottery on a potter's wheel forced one to resign to the fact that this particular vessel will not suffice. It's walls are not even, or it's lopsided, or by the shear nature of the pottery piece wanting to move outward from the force of spinning, sometimes the vessel would move beyond control. In each of these cases, in order to reform the vessel, one would smash it back down into a mound of solid wet clay, re-center the clay and then start reforming the anticipated vessel anew. When looking at this particular instance of reforming, one can understand why REFORM is not something that goes well in our lives and in our living.

From personal experience, in introducing something new within the Church Body, I really do have a strong admiration for Martin Luther. To bring new ways and new ideas to the Church Body often is met with resistance, odd looks, the moniker of "he's out there", and "you can't do church like that" are all very common. The good thing is that the bishop has not put out a bounty on Pastor Craig or my headů yet. But in the days when Martin was seeking new ways of being church and receiving God's grace and hearing God's word through means which seemed to reflect scripture in a manner flowing from the grace of God, leadership was not happy. His way of thinking did indeed bring a price upon his head. To bring Luther in dead, or alive, was an order which came from the highest ranks. Despite this death sentence, Luther continued his writings and his work. Was it fortitude and faith, or was it just some hot and thick headed young German priest (probably a bit of both) living out that which may be necessary in not just introducing reform, but also seeing reform actually take shape in the world.

It is some 500 years later and through my eyes and in my study of scripture, I do have to question if major reform is necessary in the Church Body of today. Is the Gospel going forth in truth and raw power or is it being corrupted through means of works and salesmanship? A recent study indicated that over half of those who profess to follow Christ thought that living a good and moral life was enough to get one into heaven. Have congregations become businesses effectively or ineffectively making Christ available in models that the consumer can accept in their busy and compartmentalized lives? Is the power and presence of Christ in our lives, in our congregations and in this world enough, or do we need to help out using the modern intellect, since Jesus came and went over 2000 years ago and doesn't know much about the internet. Maybe we can pay someone to help us through a 1-year process to determine if faith and Christ are alive in our congregation.

My prayer is that we, as the Body of Christ, have not come to the point of being in the potter's hands and the potter finding it necessary to squash the current vessel in order that the Lord may receive new hands and voices. It wouldn't be the first time in the history of God's people. I pray for hearts that are true and faithful to the moving of God's Spirit and the power to have faithful ministries in the congregations of our Lord as reform continues to happen in those congregations who have their roots in the reforming tradition.

In Christ's love and service, Pastor Dan

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