2017 Reformation Celebration – Historical Reflections
This year, 2017, is a year precious to all Lutherans…the 500th birthday of the beginning of Luther’s blessed discovery of the Gospel and his rebellion related to the beliefs and celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church. A monthly series of articles will be provided covering topics and historical events leading up to October 31, 1517, the date of the posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany.
SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Among the many controversies with the Roman Catholic Church two are brought up in this article. First, as early as 1522, Luther pointed out that the Roman Catholic doctrine of serving only the bread was untenable. Communion is, as Luther said: “…a command to take both elements when we want to receive the Sacrament”…a command defensible by the Word of God.
Second, in 1525, Luther wrote against the denial of the presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy communion. Luther spent a great deal of time in defense of the “real presence” of Christ’s body and blood received by all partakers of Holy Communion. Luther believed that the Real Presence, as expressed in Jesus’ words “this is”, does not mean “represents”.
What Luther Says
Luther defines the Sacrament of the Altar in the Catechism “as the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself” …as written in the Gospel’s of Matthew, Mark and Luke and by St. Paul.
Luther: “…1 Cor. 10:16 forces us to the conclusion that all who break, eat and receive this bread receive the body of Christ and partake of it. “…the Lord Christ also ordained and commanded that in His church His essential body and blood are to be present in the Lord’s Supper…in a bodily and yet incomprehensible manner”.
Luther: “I certainly love it with all my heart, the precious, blessed Supper of my Lord Jesus Christ, in which He gives me His body and blood to eat and to drink orally, with the mouth of my body, accompanied by the exceedingly sweet and gracious words: Given for you, Shed for you.”
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Doctrinal Position
We believe that the true body and blood of Jesus Christ are present under the bread and wine for Christians to eat and to drink. Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in this sacred meal and gives us the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. We believe that Holy Communion is a very personal way God works in our lives to save us.
Who is worthy? We practice closed communion because all who commune receive abundant blessing and unbelievers eternal harm. Lutherans “qualify” the unworthy and unprepared by first teaching them their need for Christ, and the forgiveness and life that He gives in the Sacrament.
We do not try to explain how Jesus is present under the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper; rather we believe, teach, confess and rejoice that He is present. Luther: “We maintain that the bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ.”
We believe that we should receive the Lord’s Supper often because of how much we need what the Lord gives in His Supper. There is no LC-MS rule about how often an individual should or must receive the Lord’s Supper. Synod encourages congregations to provide the opportunity, to those who desire, to receive the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.
For August: Luther and Music
District Reformation 500 Activities
Jesus is Risen! May your Seasonal celebrations thereof be going wonderfully. And, in connection with our Reformation-500 Year, we have certainly had some worthwhile events so far, including two great Concordia Choir Tours. There are also a number of new exciting activities occurring among us as well, over the next several months. As many as you are able to participate in, please do. And, regarding the rest, please pray:
Summer: Immanuel, Colorado Springs hosts a showing of “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World” – For more information on the film and how to make use of that great resource, please see: newluthermovie.com/lcms
June 16-21: “Cross and Crescent: The Reformers and Islam” Seminar Tour, featuring Dr. Joshua Hollmann – (click attachment)
July 19-23: “The Masks of God: Luther on Our Worldly Callings” Seminar Tour, featuring Dr. Martin Conkling – (click attachment)
(It is interesting to note, that only Colorado congregations answered the several calls, through District-Circuit-Direct channels, for seminar hosts…)
August 28: Circuit Continuing Education Seminar on Christian Initiation and Catechetics (featuring Dr. Art Just) at Trinity, Riverton UT
September 9-10: Mission Festival (featuring Cantor Philip Magnus) at Calvary, Wray CO
October 22: All-Lutheran Hymn Fest, followed by a traditional Oktoberfest, at Immanuel, Colorado Springs
November 5: Utah Circuit Reformation Rally (featuring Pastor Randall Golter) at St. Paul, Ogden UT
Late Summer / Fall: Pastor George Hesse is available for a few half-hour Portrayals of “common-folk” Reformation characters (e.g. Luther’s Baker, a Boatman who ferries buyers of indulgences, an Augustinian Monk who knew Luther, etc.), for sermons, LWML gatherings, anniversary celebrations-and-the-like. Help with Travel Expenses is requested, along with a possible $115 Speaking Fee or, at least, a Freewill Offering. You may reach him at email@example.com or 970-234-9029.
Besides all those, hopefully plenty of other local, circuit and regional activities are being planned, including Reformation Rallies, Mission Festivals, Luther Film Showings (please remember to fulfill these legally, though, via the information provided in this and earlier e-mails), Seminar Presentations, Parade Floats, Fair Booths, VBS, Reformation Carnivals (with information about those having also been shared earlier), and so much more. And, wherever possible, please do consider plentiful and quality use of posters, flyers, mailings, newspapers, radio, television and face-to-face invitations. Also, for all local events, please do make sure to publicize among your Circuit congregations as well. The more – the merrier!
Let’s please all participate as much as possible, and pray. Our Risen and Reforming Lord Jesus is Someone worth celebrating, and sharing!
Yours in Him,
Pastor Rick Miller
District Reformation-500 Outreach Coordinator
Denver Area Reformation Worship Celebration
The Denver Southwest Circuit is hosting at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, Centennial, the Rocky Mountain District Front Range Area Reformation Service on Sunday, October 22, 2017, 4pm at Shepherd of the Hills. Individual congregations and schools of our circuit will be participating in music and service for that day, as well as having highlighted community, reformation, and church events throughout that week leading up to the Observed day of Reformation, October 29, where congregations will be celebrating individually at their own places.
The guest preacher is Ref. Prof. Todd Jones from the St. Louis Seminary. Shepherd of the Hills is sponsoring a Fall Reformation Festival at their congregation for families, youth and the community on Friday, October 27, from 5-8pm. Hosanna Lutheran, Littleton is sponsoring a matinee viewing of the New Luther Movie ($6 with popcorn) at the Elvis Movie Theater at 10am on Thursday, October 26, Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28. Other local congregations will be adding events to this celebration calendar as time progresses.
The theme for the celebration at Shepherd of the Hills is “Here We Stand! Word, Grace, Faith” and will be in conjunction with the Synod’s yearly theme of “It is Still All About Jesus”. Below is a summary of the scheduled celebration:
2017 Circuit Reformation Celebration
1. 500th Reformation Theme: Here We Stand! Word, Faith, Grace
2. Guest Preacher: Rev. Todd Jones, Professor St. Louis Sem.
3. Schedule So Far:
Sat. Oct. 21 – Open (possibly fun run with LHS)
Sun. Oct. 22 – 4-6pm Front Range Celebration Service Shepherd (possible meal there or at Our Father)
Mon. Oct. 23 – Open
Tues. Oct. 24 – Open
Wed. Oct. 25 – Open
Thur. Oct. 26 – 10 am, Showing of Luther Movie at Elvis, Hosanna, $6 with drink/popcorn
Fri. Oct. 27 – 10 am, Showing of Luther Movie at Elvis, Hosanna, $6 with drink/popcorn, 5-8pm Community Fall Festival Shepherd
Sat. Oct. 28 – 10 am, Showing of Luther Movie at Elvis, Hosanna, $6 with drink/popcorn (possible community servant project, Redeemer)
Sun. Oct. 29 – Individual Congregation Reformation Celebrations