The Imperfect Reformer

On our way to visit the Castle Church in Wittenberg about 30 days ago, HH and I stopped to visit other church buildings where Martin Luther had preached.  Although my German is negligible, I recognized the word “Juden” in some of the quotations painted in the lobbies of one church building.  The words were hateful.  In the entry to the Church.

Martin Luther recognized that reforms were necessary for the Church to be faithful.  What he didn’t recognize was that Jewish people are beloved children of God and the Church will never be faithful until we accept that truth.

Our reformers have always been imperfect.

While the Reformation changed many things, it didn’t change everything.  And as we continue to reform God’s Church in these days, we continue to cling to our blind spots and our unfaithful biases.

Do you know that you can walk right up to the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg and touch them?  The original wooden doors burned during the Seven Years War about 50 years after Luther’s famous hammering moment. Now the door is bronze with the 95 Theses imprinted into it.

But the door itself is not holy.  It’s just a door.  Worshippers leave through this door after worship.

What happens after we leave through those historic doors is the true reformation.  The way we treat our neighbors and our enemies, the way we make everyday choices.  My hope is that 500 years from today, the Church will continue to be reforming in ways that please God.  Not one of us has gotten it right yet.

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