Good morning, For weeks now the neighbors have had elaborate displays in their yards for Halloween. Over the next several days treat-or-treaters will be going up and down the streets. Costume parties are fun for everyone, regardless of age. But for Lutherans, Oct. 31 is much more than Halloween. It’s the day to remember how in 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses, statements for debate, on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. The theses warned of the abuse of indulgences, but at the heart of the matter was the question which everyone must face: “How can I be right with God?” The thought that one can earn righteousness is attractive to our human nature. Be good, do good, pray, and God will be happy with you. But what if your salvation did depend on you, how well you focus on your Bible reading, how heartfelt your prayers, how loving you are toward others? There would be no peace or assurance. No one is good enough or able to do enough to please the holy God. “No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:20, 23). We don’t call ourselves Lutherans because we believe in Luther, but because we believe the gospel which he preached and taught from Scripture alone. It’s the message that we are not saved by how good we are, but by how good Jesus was for us. By his obedience we are counted as righteous. By his death our sins are paid for in full. The pressure is off, the uncertainty erased. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). That is cause for real, ongoing celebration. May the peace and joy of salvation be reflected in all you say and do today. Yours in Christ, Pastor Our morning service is at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Sunday school and Bible class will follow. Both the children and the adult choir will be singing. The confirmation students will present a short play about Luther and the Reformation in the sanctuary before Bible class. The Bible class will look at some of the many false teachings about Christ which have cropped up over the centuries and which are still around today. A special area Reformation service will be held at 4 p.m. Five neighboring congregations have been invited to join us. The children and adult choir will be singing. A light meal will follow.