It's Fall again. That time of the year when we are blessed to see God painting the world with golden colors and striking beauty. It's a wonderful time of year. Piles of leaves to jump in. Cool foggy mornings. Clear star-filled nights. Friday night football games. Hot apple cider. Pumpkin pie. We have some of the most loved holidays at this time of year: Halloween and Thanksgiving. There is much to give praise and thanks to God for.
There is another event that happens at this time of the year in the church, the commemoration of the Protestant Reformation on the last Sunday of October. This year mark 499 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 complaints against the Catholic Church at the time. His actions were followed by other reformers: John Calvin, John Wycliffe, Huldrych Zwingli (to name a few).
One of the realities that I have come to believe in recent years is that there is once again a need for a reformation within the church. In many ways the church has become unfocused, misguided and out of step with the path Jesus taught and called his disciples to follow.
What might a new reformation look like? UCC pastor Robin Meyers, in his book The Underground Church, imagines just what that church might look like: Just imagine...
»A church where women are truly equal to men, and never patronized.
»A church where straights and gays worship together as children of God.
»A church where children are cherished in practice, and not just in theory.
»A church where following Jesus is just as important as worshiping Christ.
»A church where the clergy are on neither a pedestal nor a chopping block.
»A church where learning is not subversive and science is not the enemy of faith.
»A church where fear is never an instrument of religious conversion or conversation.
»A church where the enemy is not death but rather our failure to truly live.
»A church where the waters of baptism, no matter how they are administered, trap us all in the irreversible claim of God upon our lives.
»A church where being rich means having everything you need instead of everything you want.
»A church where there is no acceptable alternative to hope, no substitute for joy, and no excuse not to offer the same unconditional love to others that has been so freely lavished on us.
With the Greatest of Hope!