Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Reformation: Faith community reformed by the Word of God Galatians 1:1-6
v3-5 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk in Germany, is perhaps most remembered for nailing “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg Castle Church door Oct. 31, 1517. Thus began the public debate surrounding the sale of indulgences for the forgiveness of sin. Martin Luther’s study of scripture led him to question some of the church’s practices, not for argument’s sake, but in search for genuine relationship with God. Revolutionary inventions contributed to major shifts in society and religious life. The printing press was operating in Germany, thanks to Gutenberg. Martin Luther translated the Bible into the common German vernacular. He also wrote a small pamphlet called the “Small Catechism.” The printing press made it possible for Luther’s translations to be placed in the hands of average citizens. No longer would Scripture be reserved only for the well-educated priests and professors. Scripture became accessible for many. One could read God’s word and hear for themselves the stories of God’s love for the world. Martin Luther and other reformers gave people access to reading and interpreting God’s word. This was a powerful shift in the life of the church. Religious leaders would begin to be held accountable for their interpretations of scripture and misuse of power. Churches, like all institutions can be broken, sinful, and hurtful. Our religious communities also bring about God’s healing, forgiveness, and grace. While shifts were happening in churches, changes were also happening in homes. Luther believed it important to practice faith at home, work, and all spheres of daily life. God is not only to be found in the church building, but in every human being. Luther called this the priesthood of all believers. God works through us in our everyday relationships, work, and play.
Paul opens the letter by defending his apostleship and claiming that his calling is from Jesus. He claims divine authority. After the usual apostolic greeting, Paul proceeds, not to congratulate or compliment the Galatians in any way, but to hold them accountable and reprimand them for turning away from the gospel to ritualism. Their idea of salvation through becoming Jews was subversive of the gospel of grace, and so the apostle shows himself intolerant of the false doctrine which was so mischievous. So sure is he of his position that he does not hesitate to denounce with the curse of God any, be they men or angels, who would preach a different gospel from that gospel of Christ's self-sacrifice which he preached. Moreover, if they imagined that to be popular he would trifle with principle, he gave them to understand that he would never, to propitiate public opinion, violate in the least degree his obligation as the slave of Christ. Paul had got such a grasp of the gospel of grace, the self-sacrifice of Christ was so sure and so sufficient a foundation for man's hope, that he could not tolerate any other message. With his faith he tried to reprimand and reform the people and point them towards their true savior.God has called us to live differently.
The Holy Spirit is able to work in us and through us to bring change and transformation. God has called us to live lives that are holy and acceptable to Him. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (NIV)Are we allowing God to change and reform us? Are we allowing God to change and transform the way we think? Will we allow God to bring difference to our life and willing to be the reason that others see the grace of God? Much like the reformation of the 16th century, we are in a time of rapid change. Renewal is happening in our world and in our church. We search for meaning, finding purpose, and turn to God for guidance. Church is not a place, but a people. We are called to reform the world by word of God.
Heavenly Father grant us the wisdom and help us to fulfill the work that you have entrusted in us of caring for this world and your people. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
God has called us to reform the lives of others through our faith and deeds.
Smitha Annie Mathew, SIMTC
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church
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