Wednesday isn’t just Halloween. It’s Reformation Day, too. 495 years since Luther took his hammer to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg. I had a minister in Ottawa who thumbtacked the theses to our church door to celebrate. Quirky but good, I thought. So maybe this might be considered my own form of thumbtacking. Trick or treat…
And it starts with Gospel. The lectionary text for Wednesday contains the strong words of Christ in John’s Gospel.
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32
That’s the freedom that the Reformers claimed. Freedom to see things differently. To seek clarity when institution had made things opaque. To have the courage to step away from traditions that confined rather than supported the faith.
With that freedom held high, they wrote bar-tune hymns of praise and kidnapped nuns from convents. They prayed in hidden caves, preached mighty sermons, and caused very public riots in churches. They did a lot of damage. They did a lot of good. All because they glimpsed the gospel in new ways and reflected it back for the world. In their footsteps and the footsteps of all disciples, we too have the freedom to share our glimpses of the Gospel, wherever we may find them .
Here are my three glimpses for Reformation Day.
Gospel of the rain room – In the Barbican in London this season, there is a room where it rains. And you can walk through it, but you won’t get wet. Here it is. Take a look.
God keeps us. God parts the waters and walks with us. In all things, God holds us and shelters us. Chaos may surround us and fear fall around us, but we are safe with God in all the ways that matter. We can walk with faith.
The experience of walking through the rain room makes us ask deep questions about courage, trust, and control. Here’s another film clip about the rain room, including an interview with Stuart Wood, who created the installation along with fellow former Royal College of Art students Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass.
Gospel of the shattered mug:
And God will put us back together again. We might be chipped. Or we might be shattered. But we are still precious. God will reconstructed us. We are stapled together. Even our scars will be beautiful as we remember God’s own faithfulness. We are made useful again.I found this reconstructed mug on Andrew Baseman’s blog, Past Imperfect. He collects antiques that have been cleverly repaired and he sees beauty in the reworking of a piece. In a culture of disposable everything, it is good to remember that repair is possible.
Gospel of the clam shell book
God gives us space to find wisdom. To read. And also space to write. The world is full of places where we can read of God’s beauty and love. Creation breathes with Breath. There are pages hidden everywhere. And some of the pages are blank. We are given space to put down our own thoughts for others to find. That’s grace. That we can read God and write God.
What about you? Where have you glimpsed the gospel lately? What freedom and beauty and truth can you share?