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Hallo again to all.

The coming week will mark the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther is said to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and also posted them to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz, thus triggering the Protestant Reformation. Reformation Day is Tuesday, with celebrations, lectures, and services held internationally throughout the week and much of the year. The Church of England has an entire page dedicated to this Anniversary Year. Luther's writings were well timed for what soon after became the English Reformation.

In our readings and conversations on the Protestant Reformation, we find much more focus to be on the Protestant — the Protesting — than on the Re-formation of the Church that influences so much of our polity and theology. Most commonly thought of: the removal of indulgences and disputation of purgatory—which are, admittedly referenced in a solid two-thirds of Luther's theses. Justification through faith is, of course, at the heart of the Reformation, as is the primacy of scripture. Rather we found ourselves stopping to look at the development of what was re-formed, and how that has changed over the last 500 years, and in what ways. Buildings became less and more ornate, laity became more and less empowered, the Holy Eucharist has come and gone and come. Putting God back at the centre (which also has gone and come). Perhaps also, this re-forming of what is now a large portion of the Church Universal has allowed Christianity to live and thrive as long and vibrantly as it has.

Last evening, we were reminded of a quite different sort of re-formation. A more recent one. We attended an 'Evening with' an octogenarian-minus-one Jewish-American folk musician. Music and stories from the late fifties through seventies were interspersed with newer songs and anecdotes. He would often stop to teach the lyrics to the audience, at times making for a fun sing-a-long, and at others, a makeshift choir. The music made the diverse group be a community, as we sang of  sadness, peace, faith, and hope, accompanied by guitar and bass. The musician spoke and sang of action and activism (and inaction and slacktivism) and the reforms he has seen in society in the last sixty years. The gradual acceptance of women in the workplace, the continued integration of minorities, the LGBT community, the disabled, environmental awareness, and how that has changed the world around us in so many different ways. Society has been gradually reformed, leaving some sad or angry and nostalgic and others full of hope. There have been ebbs and flows, and self-corrections at a much faster rate than the during the Reformation.

Reforms happen all the time around us. Sometimes they are slow, trickling in ways that are barely noticeable, over centuries, other times they are fierce, violent wars for independence or freedom, but most often, reform is brought about by passionate people trying to change the world and serve God and God's creation in the best way they can, serving the call, whether knowingly or not, to re-create God's kingdom on earth, in their own communities.

See you again next week.

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29 October 2017

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