Sunday, October 31, 2010

If We Would Claim the Reformation

If we would claim the Reformation as our own, then let us stand with the Reformers of old for the Church, renewed by the pure medicine of the Gospel, that no labor of our own or claim of right be allowed to stand among us...

If we would claim the Reformation as our own, then let us confess anew the old Confessions which encapsulate this Gospel against errors and hold in trust the true and genuine faith of the Scriptures therein so that all churches may learn to speak this common, catholic, and evangelical truth...

If we would claim the Reformation as our own, then let us refuse in our own age all temptation to novelty and innovation that would discard the Mass washed clean by the Gospel so we might replace it with something more fitting to us but less faithful to Christ and end up with a confession that has no practice, an intellectual truth that has no pattern of praise...

If we would claim the Reformation as our own, then let us refuse the tinkering with the Pastoral Office that would delegate its essential responsibilities to others or disburse its duties of Word and Sacrament to another by some other means than ordination...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us sing the hymns, chants, and songs that flow from the Gospel and give voice to the story of Christ and lay claim to all that He has won for us and our salvation and let us leave behind the discardable music of a moment whose subject is more me than Thee...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us not simply wear the Luther rose as jewelry but as a banner of faithfulness to one among many whom God raised up to lead His Church to dust off what had lain as forgotten treasure in the attic of His Church and pray that every age and generation have those whom He shall raise to lift high the Cross...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us not meet as Christians to patch over what divided and still divides us but to wrestle with Scripture and the catholic tradition and make sure that if we find agreement it is the strong and study consensus that flows from the Word of God and honors the Gospel...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us not merely teach the Catechism to the young as if it were rite of passage but let us each and every one mine its faithful words as the rich and fruitful ore that builds up the Church in Christ and all of us as Christians until we find the strength and security to reach beyond us with its message of forgiveness, life, and salvation...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us not choose between pure doctrine and passionate witness or forget the compassionate mercy we are also called to reveal to the nations but embrace the faithful confession, the vigorous proclamation, and the charitable acts that mark this Church and her people as truly Christian...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us not beat our proud Lutheran chests but kneel in humble confession of our sins, repent of our fallen ways, desire the grace that alone forgives and restores, and earnestly pray by the power and aid of the Spirit that we may not fall again...

If we would claim the Reformation, then let us not wear it as a costume but let its Confessions and faithful practice mark and shape our identity or we have no right to call ourselves heirs or to claim the legacy as our own heritage...

With the name Reformation and with its legacy come responsibility that we dare not forsake simply because the times are different, the positions unpopular, and the choices available to Christians manifold; either this Reformation is a grand work of God to bring needful renewal to His Church by the restoration of the light of Christ and the fullness of His Gospel, or it is the most shameful history and schism of all... If we believe the first, then let us not act like the latter...

2 comments:

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

Amen!

Steve said...

Amen and God help me. These are truly needful concepts.

Steve