Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
Lutherans are Protestants. We come out of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther and others protested against the Church of the Holy Roman Empire. In the Dark Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was the only Church in Europe. It was fueled by the offerings of peasants. Meanwhile, the Church owned ¼ of all the property in Western Europe. The peasants, who were mostly illiterate, were oppressed and controlled by the Church. Superstition and fear were the primary tools used to keep the people in line, and to keep the money coming into the Church coffers.
Martin Luther’s 95 Theses would lead to widespread protests and calls for reform. The reformation was dangerous; people died, churches were destroyed, political careers were ruined, and families were torn apart. Forced to go into hiding, Luther narrowly escaped arrest and execution. The labor pains of change come with considerable risks.
We are Protestants. The Lutheran Church was birthed in the fires of protests, in a call for change and in the firm belief that God was leading us out of oppression and into freedom. The death of old institutions does not come easy. Those who benefit from the privilege and comfort of the old will fight to preserve their position. Change, protest, a demand for justice, every voice given the chance to be heard, all people are created equal; on these foundations the United States of America was founded. The Boston Tea Party, Women’s Suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, the ordination of women, same-sex marriage; every reformation is dangerous and painful. But allowing a cancerous rot to infect the body unchecked, ensures the ultimate destruction of the body.
We are Protestants, and there is only one way out of this mess. That is to make our protests known, and to move forward, reforming systems of oppression, seeking justice for all people, while exorcising the demons of slavery and confronting our own racism, as we hold firm to the teachings of Jesus. We are Protestants. It is a part of our DNA. I support those who peacefully protest, the midwives and prophets who offer us the opportunity to reform.
Don’t let this chaos break your spirit, for these are the labor pains of change. Be of good heart, be brave, hold on to hope, and marvel at the good work that the Holy Spirit is up to in our time.
We are Protestants, and we are one day closer to an end of this crisis.
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