Today is Reformation Sunday. This is a bigger thing for Presbyterians and Lutherans than for some other, perfectly fine, denominations. I like Reformation Sunday because in an alternate universe I am an historian and in this universe historical things interest me. I am grateful for an understanding of the context in which I find myself and a sense of where I came from as a Presbyterian. All that being said, there aren’t a lot of obvious passages in the Bible to talk about the Reformation, add to that challenge the constraints of following the Revised Common Lectionary and I was wondering how I would talk about the Reformation, or if I would at all.
As someone with an interest in and some facility with history I need to be aware of the temptation to write a lecture about the history of the Reformation and call it sermon . . . even when it isn’t one. When I find myself with this sort of conundrum I have learned the best thing to do is sit with the texts and see where the Holy Spirit wants us to go. I don’t think the Holy Spirit is indifferent to the Reformation or my interest in history but the purpose of getting together on Sundays (or any other day if needed) is to hear what the word of God has for us today, and I’m more than okay with that.
It was wonderful to see how the Holy Spirit brought the things into my mental view to bring the content of our texts and the calendar together in such a way so I could talk about the Reformation but in the context of this Sunday.
I think I managed to do justice to both the historical heritage we have as members of the Reformed church writ large and the message(s) of the Deuteronomy and Matthew texts. As always, please let me know if you think I did or didn’t accomplish it.
“What does the greatest commandment do for us?” Knox and St. Mark’s Presbyterian joint service (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
Thank you Barry for this one and your sermon each week. Always so good.