Sunday, October 31, 2010
The reformations under Hezekiah and Josiah foretold Jesus' cleansing of the temple. Jesus' cleansing foretold his ultimate cleansing by his own death and resurrection. But the kingdom of heaven still finds itself situated in a fallen world, and so the encroachments of evil still require periodic reformations. The tumultuous fourth century's reformations gave us the Nicene Creed; the seven ecumenical councils each could be seen as a kind of spring cleaning.
The sixteenth century reformation was another, in a long string of them.
So the Lutherans who came to America to avoid a forced union and compromise under the Prussian king found themselves in the midst of another reformation.
And what of today? Churches that call themselves Lutheran are ordaining homosexuals. How in the world could we join with them?
And even among us: can we call ourselves churches of the reformation if we still have those among us who don't know what sits on the altar? The sacrament was at the heart of the teachings of our Lutheran fathers. And this is one reason we have a tabernacle built here: we want everyone to know what we believe. Or again, can we call ourselves children of the reformation if we have rock bands and entertainment going on in our places that are supposed to be holy? Or again, what are we to make of the fact that some 300 of our own churches are vacant, but not calling a pastor? The church needs another reformation.
But how to begin? Our newly elected Synodical president has pointed out that no great movement in the church has ever begun without repentance. We need the reformation to begin with ourselves, our hearts. Indeed the first of the 95 theses is this: When our Lord said 'repent', he meant that the entire life of the Christian must be one of repentance.
We must rededicate ourselves to turning from our own sins, to the Lord Jesus and his mercy, and to resolving that he is all we need: take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife; let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; the kingdom ours remaineth.
Here's the audio of the sermon.
And here's the audio of our 25 minute radio program, on the reformation.