500 years…that’s a long time. The United States didn’t exist. North America had barely been discovered by Europeans. The printing press was just invented and your life expectancy was 49 years if you were a woman, 42 if you were male. You usually did whatever your parents did – farmer, merchant, craftsmen…you learned the family trade as you grew up. It was a pretty assured deal that you would encounter some kind of plague disease and would be lucky to survive. Sanitation was barely thought about and you would bathe about once a year…yes a year.
It was a very different world. And yet it wasn’t.
People still longed to know God and sought purpose and meaning for their lives. Young people still fell in love, families were created. Lives were lived in community and the rhythm of birth, life, death – though shorter was still lived to its fullest.
And into this world stepped a man named Martin Luther…who became a monk and then realized what the church was teaching at the time, didn’t mesh with what he read in scripture. And compelled to not stay silent…he started speaking out. And it got him in trouble. Big trouble. He got kicked out of the church, declared an outlaw and a price put on his head. And in the midst of all that, he helped thousands of people come to realize we have a God of love and grace…not guilt and wrath.
It is because that one man stood up that we can stand and worship God as we do today. And while the reform he brought started 500 years ago…the idea of reform is still part of our DNA today.
So, for the next few weeks we are going to look at where Luther stood and where we are called to stand today….because 500 years isn’t really all that long ago. And the reforming of our lives and faith…still happens today. Come join us! – Pastor Jane Jebsen