Today’s Other Holiday

In addition to Halloween, October 31st also marks the celebration of Reformation Day. It was on this day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany to protest the aggressive sale of indulgences, the granting of merit from the church to the individual, by Johann Tetzel. Pope Leo X had authorized indulgences for anyone who gave alms to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Sadly, Luther’s protest fell on deaf ears, as the pope demanded he recant 41 of the theses, and, when Luther refused to do so at the Diet of Worms in 1521, the Reformation was born. Meanwhile, the idea of taxing the poor by scaring them with the fires of hell still exists in most denominations, usually under the title “Church Building Program” or “Capital Improvement Fund.”

I’m guessing most Lutheran and Reformed churches celebrated the minor festival this past Sunday by singing A Mighty Fortress and that’s about it. However, it seems to me there are better ways to mark the occasion, such as heading to your nearest pub, ordering a pint of Einbecker, and raising a glass for Dr. Martin, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Chemnitz, and, heck, even that fussy lawyer John Calvin.

Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon and the stars have been worshipped; shall we pluck them from the sky? See how much He has done thru me even though I just prayed and preached, the Word did it all. If I wanted to, I could have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip in Hahnsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.

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