My wife Colleen has been urging me to dress up like Martin Luther today for Halloween, so I finally agreed. I decided to dress like a middle-aged professor. Here it is!
Long before there was Halloween, of course, there was Hallowed Even, or holy evening, the day before All Saints Day—the day Christian churches in so many traditions remember those who have gone before in the faith—what Hebrews 12 would call that great cloud of witnesses.
But today, October 31, is special because it is the day which by common consent has come to represent the beginning of the Protestant Reformation—that revolution within Christianity sparked by Martin Luther, the German priest, an Augustinian friar, who you saw walking rather stiffly across the Playmobil video, and we’ve learned a little bit how he struggled against the sale of indulgences, which diminished the role of repentance among Christians, and how this eventually led to his excommunication and his outlawing, and how that eventually split Western Christendom into a whole variety of confessional and denominational expressions. And so most of us here today worship in churches that flow from Luther’s Reformation, and even if you worship in a Catholic church, your church too has been fundamentally shaped by Martin Luther and his work. Continue reading