It's here! This Sunday, Good Shepherd will recognize the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Half a century ago, in his attempt to reform the Catholic Church, Martin Luther (and others) changed everything!
We take a lot of pride in the Reformation, especially for a denomination often poked fun at for fearing change.
How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb? Change?!
But we can't just look at the Reformation as something that only happened "back when". If the last month-and-a-half of learning about "reformers" in worship has taught me anything, it's that the Reformation never really ended. In fact, it's probably still happening right now. Sometimes reformation is quick and painful like a Church-dividing vote. Other times it's slow and quiet like the droves of emerging adults who are, for many reasons, identifying as religious "none" and keeping their distance from organized religion.
The church is in constant reformation. It always has been and always will be.
"Cross-generational" is very much a buzzword. I'm the only staff "Director, Cross-Generational Ministry" in the North Carolina synod of the
ELCA; however, there are now enough of us in the U.S. to justify having a yearly conference! We're a new breed, kind of like the professional youth minister was back in the 1980s and the Sunday school teacher in the early twentieth century. While Cross-generational ministry may be the "hot new thing," it aims to reclaim traditions and practices that are in fact, quite old.
The study of youth and religion that came out in the mid 2000s showed that modern youth ministry wasn't working. Children and teens were being quarantined from the rest of their congregations and the "professionals" were taking responsibilities away from the parents. Did you know Luther designed the Small Catechism for parents, not confirmation teachers, to teach the faith to their children?
It turns out that was actually quite effective. So we live, we learn, we re-form.
In the spirit of the Reformation, we will reform this Sunday, yet again, like we do every Sunday. Will you be part of the new formation? Maybe you'll be in the choir, which, at the 10:45 am service will span five generations. Or perhaps you'll join a table at the cross-gen
SME and make some new connections. (Emerging adults, I'm looking at you). Maybe you're making a chili for the chili cook-off supporting our youth ministry. Or just maybe, your family will re-form around the dinner table Sunday evening and pray together, serve one another, and share in caring conversation. However you honor the Reformation, may it be not just for one weekend, but something you live each and every day.
- Andrew Buck