Reformation Day: Celebrate the Light

What’s the first word or image that comes to mind when someone says October 31?

Maybe it’s the silly costume you wore last year or your favorite candy or the fall festival your church is sponsoring for the community.

For me, I think of my college Bible professor dressed in a long robe and hammering parchment paper to his office door.

You see, most people celebrate October 31 as Halloween, but few realize this day marks a milestone of Christianity and the Protestant Reformation. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, or arguments, to the castle door in Wittenberg, Germany in defiance of the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of “indulgences.” The pope promised that buying indulgences for a deceased loved one would shorten the relative’s stay in purgatory, thus “buying” his or her way into heaven.

Those who sold indulgences created a clever ditty to drive home the sale: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”

Essentially, the organized church was robbing people to pay its debts and giving them false hope for forgiveness of sins.

Luther called the church out on this non-biblical teaching, and in doing so, sparked a flame that began the Protestant Reformation.

Many Reformers and those who held to Protestant beliefs were martyred for their faith and stand against the established church. Among them were John Huss and William Tyndale, both burned at the stake.

Their crimes? Both dared to share the Bible with ordinary people in their common English tongue, Huss through a chapel service and Tyndale through an English translation of the Bible. Many others suffered similar fates for spreading the light of the gospel.

A challenge for us today

Believers have different opinions about what is acceptable and not acceptable for Halloween. This post is not going to argue those questions of conscience.

However, I do think Luther’s actions those many years ago hold a challenge for modern believers.

share your faith, even if it’s unpopular.

The rebuttals and cold shoulders we may receive for sharing the gospel are nothing compared to the persecution of the Reformation Era. However, they can make us want to wait on the sidelines or keep our mouths shut.

Romans 1:12 dares us to stand up for what we believe and not be ashamed to speak out:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (NKJV).

Celebrate Light, not darkness

Halloween tends to glorify the macabre and the grotesque. Oftentimes, this holiday presents sin as “fun” and something in which to revel. Never give in to practices that celebrate darkness.

There are plenty of other alternatives available. Local churches host fall festivals and community outreaches were children can safely enjoy clean fun and even learn about the gospel in the process. When my grandpa was alive, he used to give out gospel tracks with candy.

Whatever you do, be different, not dark. If you spread the light of the gospel, others will notice.

So if the cashier at the supermarket or your hairdresser asks what your Halloween costume will be, you can tell them (if you want to and have one) or just say, “Did you know that October 31 is also Reformation Day?”

Now, you’re ready to explain what Reformation Day means and why it’s worth celebrating. Who knows? You might even have a chance to tell someone about Jesus.

Happy Reformation Day!

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

Celebrate light, not darkness on October 31 – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Reformation Day: Celebrate the Light of the World – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

My Father’s Business

Nicaragua
Nicaragua

I remember when I was a child of seven or eight, my dad’s company had a “bring your child to work day.” At the time, my dad worked for Motorola, and I thought he had the coolest job ever. (He even wore a funny thing called a pager. For my teenage friends, that’s a device that pre-dated the cell phone craze.)

Motorola pulled out all the stops for the day. There were a few fun kid sessions, and then we were able to hang out with Dad. He’s a chemist, so he took my two brothers and me to his lab where he showed us the equipment and explained what it did (which went way over my head). He let us look under his microscopes at some samples and then gave us a tour of the plant.

It was AWESOME.

For the only time in my life, I could say I was “about my father’s business” of chemistry. Now, I’m a writer and still don’t understand half of what he does.

Thankfully, I don’t have to be in a specific career to be about my heavenly Father’s business. God’s business isn’t just for pastors. After all, the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3). Peter and Andrew were fisherman (Matthew 4:18). Lydia was a maker of purple goods, most likely clothes (Acts 16:4).

God’s business is sharing the gospel or “good news” with others, wherever we are, whatever we do. After all, that’s what Jesus did.

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life…” (John 6:40 NKJV)

The great commission in Matthew 28 to “go” and “make disciples” is not just for a select few. If you know Christ as your personal Savior, you are already part of the “chosen generation” that Peter writes about, whose “job” is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

It also isn’t just for missionaries. As much as I love short-term missions, those trips represent a mere fraction of my life. I can’t shelve my Christianity when I’m not in full-time ministry (although as a teacher, I’m convinced today’s schools – even Christian schools – are a mission field of their own).

How then do we begin? Shine and be light in a dark world (Philippians 2:15). Maybe start with a simple act of kindness to a stranger or share your testimony with someone. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or dramatic. Just be honest. What did Jesus do for you?

Age doesn’t matter either. Remember, 12-year-old Jesus was in the temple “about his Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). Tweens and teens, you can have a huge impact for Christ in your schools, sports events, and social settings.

So my challenge this week is simple: be about our Father’s business.

~ Miss Kristen