October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s courageous act of faith – posting his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church door. I stand in awe of this great man who lived a spiritual life full of faith in the God of his understanding.
In 1517, the selling and purchasing of “indulgences” was a widely accepted practice. Anyone could purchase an indulgence which would exempt them from punishment for some types of sins. Young Luther who studied law and theology questioned the practice of selling indulgences to pay for sin. In response to this widely accepted practice, he wrote the 95 Theses, which is a document of 95 deep thoughts, questions, and concerns about why selling and purchasing indulgences was a questionable practice.
Theses 44 is one of my favorites which reads, “Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.” It is a beautiful thought to me that I can become better through love, not just by seeking an escape from a mistake or sin. It is a peaceful and happy way to live. There are 94 additional theses statements, each brimming with truth as well as questions about the practice of selling indulgences, and how to become a better person. Most people will be celebrating the Day of the Dead, and Halloween.
I am happy to celebrate Martin Luther, who through his thoughtful questions about the world around him, left a legacy of living faith that blesses the lives of so many-500 years later. I am honored to celebrate the legacy of this man who opened the door to a religious reformation and whose life was an expression of the faith he had in a higher power.