“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…”
Tomorrow is Halloween, a day for children to dress up in costumes and enjoy parties and trick-or-treating. October 31st is also known as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve. November 1st is a day we celebrate as All-Saints’ Day in our Christian faith and give thanks as we remember those special and influential people in our lives; some who have passed from this life and now know the fullness of God’s presence and others that are with us still today.
This year, October 31st is also the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Martin Luther was a German monk, who called for reform of the Church in what is known as the Reformation and the birth of Protestant churches. When Luther tacked his protests to the church door, it is said that he was intending to spark religious debate, but instead it changed the religious world.
Many things came from Martin Luther’s protest that still influence us in our faith today such as:
- Believing that all people should have direct access to God, which is often called the “priesthood of all believers.”
- Believing that the Bible should be accessible to all and translated into everyday language with words that can be understood.
- Believing that worship should also be translated into everyday language and have congregational participation. Out of this belief came congregational singing as a regular part of worship.
- Believing that education and literacy should be broadly available so people could read and understand the Bible and participate in worship.
John Wesley, our founder of Methodism, was committed to continue the developments that came from the Reformation. It is said that Wesley was listening to Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans when he had a conversion experience and felt his “heart strangely warmed.” From that experience, the Methodist Movement was formed and Wesley encouraged his followers to “provoke one another” to love and good works.
May we celebrate the Reformation by living re-formed lives that reflect the power of God’s love and grace and encourage or ‘provoke’ one another to love and good works.