Many Protestants celebrate Reformation Day on Monday | Worship


This Monday, kids all over the world will don their Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating, but the day is also another holiday: Reformation Day.

Reformation Day is a celebration of the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. It is said to be the anniversary of the day in 1517 when Martin Luther, a German teacher and monk, posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Germany.

The congregation of the House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Elizabethtown will be among those celebrating the day during their Sunday worship service. Celebrating Reformation Day on the Sunday before October 31, known as Reformation Sunday, is common in Lutheran churches.

“This is the 505th year of the Protestant Reformation,” said Reverend House of Prayer Pam Thorsom. “We celebrate it every year to remind ourselves that the church is still in reformation.”

She said the day serves as a reminder to stay true to the Bible.

Believing that it was better to seek guidance from the Scriptures than to rely on the pope and the priests of the Catholic Church to draw closer to God helped propel the Protestant Reformation which was first stimulated by the theses of Luther.

The Theses, which Luther called “Disputation on the Power of Indulgences, or Ninety-five Theses,” included 95 controversial ideas about Christianity that directly contradicted the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Theses were written to protest the Catholic Church’s practice of using “indulgences”, which were monetary payments accepted by the Church as part of the payor’s penance for sin.

When celebrating the House of Prayer on Sunday, the faithful will wear red, the liturgical color of Reformation Sunday. Red represents the Holy Spirit. The celebration will also include the singing of some of Martin Luther’s hymns, Thorsom said.

“There were other reformers, but (Luther) was kind of a firestorm,” she said. “He decided it was time to get back to basics.”

When he wrote his Theses, Luther had no intention of breaking with the Catholic Church, according to Britannica. But his theses became well known, and eventually Luther and those who followed him were excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Thus, Luther’s “Ninety-five Theses” finally sparked the Reformation, and Protestantism became one of the largest movements in Christianity, alongside Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

That day in 1517 when Luther attached his ideals to the door of the castle church would be key not only to the formation of a new form of Christianity, but also to the pilgrimage to the land that would eventually become the United States.

In England by 1620 some Protestants had become convinced that they should leave the country to found a new church, separate from the Church of England which they felt had not sufficiently embraced Protestantism. Some set sail for what would later become the United States.

Today, all over the world, Reformation Day is celebrated, especially by Lutheran and Reformed churches. Other Protestant churches differ as to whether and how they celebrate the day.

In many German states, this day is a public holiday.

The House of Prayer welcomes everyone to its service this Reformation Sunday, or any service, Thorsom said. The church is located at 904 N. Mulberry Street in Elizabethtown. His Sunday services begin at 10:30 a.m.

On Sunday, Nov. 6, a potluck will be held after services to say goodbye to Thorsom, who is leaving the church to take up a position at a church in Minnesota.


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