The Reformation should have failed. By any reasonable measure, there was no way that it could accomplish what it did. How could a “shabby little monk,” as Luther was called, possibly have any impact on the Roman Catholic Church, the most powerful institution in the world? Who would listen to him? Who would dare? Why should they? And even if Luther had the charisma to attract followers, certainly after his death, his efforts would be quickly forgotten.
Of course, that’s not at all what happened. In spite of all the efforts to stop it, the Reformation gained strength and momentum, and its effects are still felt today. The question historians ask is, “How?” While Luther had extraordinary gifts, it wasn’t Luther who brought about such stunning results. It was God Himself and the power of His Word. It seems like such a little thing, the “still small voice” which spoke to Elijah and still speaks in Holy Scripture. Yet nothing is more powerful, for it is the “power of God to salvation” (Rom. 1:16). It has the power to change the hardest of hearts, move them to trust in Christ alone for forgiveness, and to gladly serve Him regardless of the personal cost.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Let’s do so by remembering that God accomplishes great things with the littlest things. “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27). With a little water and a few quiet words, He forgave our sins and welcomed us into His kingdom in Baptism. Every time we open our Bibles in our bedroom or in a corner of the break room at work, the power of God is there to strengthen our faith and assure us of the Lord’s love and presence. With just a sip of wine and a bite of bread along with the Word, Jesus incredibly gives us His own body and blood to sustain spiritual life. With His Word God equips us, weak and wavering as we are, to be His witnesses to those around us. He uses the littlest things to bring about the greatest blessings! We see that 500 years ago. We still see it today!
Remember, there is just one service tomorrow—9:30 a.m. (No Sunday school or Bible class). The children are asked to meet in the activity room no later than 9:15. Everyone is welcome to stay after the service for refreshments and to see the Reformation projects of the school children.
Also, keep in mind the area Reformation service at Faith, Markesan, beginning at 3:30 p.m. It is a terrific opportunity to fellowship with other CLC congregations and celebrate our shared Reformation heritage. A meal will follow the service.