Celebrating the Reformation
What does it mean to be Lutheran?
by Sonja G
As was mentioned last week, in these weeks leading up to Reformation Sunday, we will have a Temple Talk related to “being Lutheran” or something tied to the Reformation in effort to recognize and celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation beginning. Last week, you heard about what Luther did and why it mattered. This week, information is being shared about what it means to be Lutheran.
We teach and believe that we are saved by grace through faith . . . not because of works. We do the works – we serve – because we are saved, not to be saved. We are both sinner and saved. We worship the holy, humbled Christ and strive to live that out. You hear it in the liturgy, you hear it in the lectionary assigned each week, you hear it in the preaching.
The children are reminded of it at Sunday School, and VBS, and Confirmation, and youth group. Being part of a Lutheran church doesn’t make you better or more significant. But it does mean something. And while the Lutheran church continues to find new ways to meet the needs of parishioners and to reach out into the culture to bring people to the church, Luther’s teaching remains an integral part of who we are.
Lutherans don’t capitulate to what the culture demands or says we need to be doing. We continue to forge forward with our humble, Christ-centered, servant hearted way. Our focus in our daily goings-on is others-centered. That can be hard, especially if the other is different or in disagreement, but it is important to working toward a peaceful, loving world. We are driven by ideas that make us distinctly Lutheran. We welcome all people. We recognize that hate has no business here – love lives here. Being saved by grace through faith is a beautiful thing. We don’t have to do anything to receive God’s grace and salvation. He did it. We know we don’t need to accept it or ask Jesus into our heart. He did that work at our Baptism.
But we can’t live cheap Grace. There is a cost of discipleship. The hard part is living it. Living Lutheran. Living the Grace. Serving the spurned, the sick, the sad, and the scared. Loving the least, the last, the lost, and the lowest. That’s Living Lutheran. We do it best when we are in Community. When our children have the chance to learn it, study it, become it, when they say “Yes. I believe. I agree it is so.” And then continue to live it by being full members in communion together. When the children see and hear the adults live it in word and deed, and when we all work in concert to become God’s Light in the world. To trust and share the good news of God’s saving Grace. To live into Micah’s words by doing what is right, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. To live out the fruits of the spirit Paul named in his letter to the Galations: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That’s hard work. That’s Living Lutheran. And it’s worth it.