Of the date I am not certain, but at one point or another the writings and, more importantly, the ideas of Martin Luther captured my heart and mind. So, life giving and earth shattering they are as to turn the world upside down these last five hundred years. Their attack and effect are much the same on the heart and life of this humble pilgrim.
Every October 31st children and their parents wonder the streets in costume hands out for delicious treats. This day and its adventurous evening are known the world over as Halloween, or All Hollow’s Eve. I can remember celebrating this night myself as a child. The one costume I can remember donning is that of a Marine. Weeks prior to this annual street romping my mother and I traveled to the local Army Navy Store to pick up the goods necessary to appear as close to the genuine article as possible. The camouflage suit I would slip on not only for the trip door to door begging for candy I wouldn’t eat, but again and again playing soldier with others.
Memories of dressing up and hitting the streets are fun and exciting, however reflecting upon far greater events better still. October 31st, 1517 is the date commonly given as the date on which Luther lit the spark that would ignite the Reformation. It is said that on this date a young monk named Martin Luther would post ninety-five theses upon the Castle Church door at Wittenberg. Luther sought a debate on the topic and at this time had no idea, let alone plans to lead the great schism to follow. This brilliant young monk would indeed upend the world and throw open the gates of heaven. These gates were chained shut for hundreds of years before Luther’s courageous stand. He rediscovered the truths of the gospel made plain is Scripture that would truly set men free.
“Luther was the unwitting harbinger of a new world in which the well-established boundaries of what was acceptable were exploded, never to be restored. Suddenly the individual had not only the freedom and possibility of thinking for himself but the weighty responsibility before God of doing so.” – Eric Metaxas, Martin Luther
The ideas of the Reformation remain worth clinging to and building your life upon. Better still their reentry into the daily life of the believer is worthy of celebration. There is little wrong with building memories with your kids by throwing on silly costumes and running around the neighborhood. Childhood is too short and opportunities to create shared memories to be seized and wrenched for all its worth. However, let us not miss the opportunity to also celebrate the greater reality this day brings to your door, namely Reformation Day.