Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Porch Stories :: Reformation500

porch stories: Reformation 500

porch stories: Reformation 500

Reformation :: How God Surprises

• Just as with any major birthday, event, or anniversary, the Church and the churches have spent a long time anticipating the 500th year since Martin Luther {or the university beadle, or someone, or however} posted 95 theses or propositions on the door of the Wittenberg church or otherwise distributed them. During the past year, the judicatory (oversight structure) of the church I attend sponsored 6 all day Saturday Reformation Roadtrip events. I attended five of them; you can find pictures on my monthly blog summaries.

• As I do most Wednesdays, I'm joining Kristin Hill Taylor's Porch Stories. She's been emphasizing adoption and brings us a grace-filled account: How God Surprises.

Animal Blessing sign critter blessing tall bird critter blessing altar

• This was our first ever Blessing of the Animals! I served on the planning committee, designed the poster {the custom banner with cute critters came from a big box printer}, and took my Roxy kitteh for her special blessing.

Rick Steves Luther Movie

Martin and Katie• During the month of October 2017, worldwide Reformation 500 fever became intense. Martin Luther would have loved the exposure social media could have given him—though someone mentioned twitter might have banned him. Might have banned him? Definitely would have! The late Timothy Lull spoke about Luther's "polemical overkill"... During worship each October Sunday, we had a Luther quotes segment. Our October games/activity evening featured Rick Steves' Luther and the Reformation movie produced mostly for people not very familiar with Christianity {not to mention Protestantism and/or Lutheranism}. Before the film, we had dinner and discussion for people new to Christianity or simply investigating its claims.

• We borrowed Martin and Katie cutouts from the judicatory office. So happy we could be on their rotation! They joined us during the movie and at worship the next morning.

worship bulletins basket

• Porch Stories this week is How God Surprises! On Reformation Sunday itself, in the adult Sunday School class I facilitate we discussed the new covenant God promised us via the prophet Jeremiah {31:31-34}. How God surprises! With newness, change, re-formation, and re-surrection. God is not finished with the Church and the churches yet. I reminded everyone we are the only expression of the church at this particular longitude and latitude, but worldwide in this year 2017 there are countless valid expressions of Christianity. Hundreds in this city, too.

• I designed the worship bulletin cover; as much as Reformation Day is about newness and surprises the Holy Spirit brings, God used Martin Luther, many of his contemporaries, and countless others in centuries after him to bring about change and newness, so I included one of the official Reformation 500 graphics. Luther himself reminded us he stood "on the shoulders of Jan Hus," the Czech {pre-}Reformer whose inspired attempts at enacting newness in church and society didn't do well, yet still set a precedent. "and the truth" on the fourth line didn't print, and the church office didn't mention it so I didn't have a chance to try a trick or two, but that's cool, too, because God uses that kind of imperfection.

church door post-it notes proclaim gospel books
gospel books on pulpit Reformation 500 cake

• We wrote prayers on post-it notes and tacked them to the front door that opens out to the world; we probably achieved a total of at least 95. Here are a couple of the many displays we had around campus during October. Reformation Sunday brunch menu included bratwurst, potatoes, sauerkraut, red cabbage, rye and pumpernickel breads, and a festive cake.

write 31 days 2017 button

• I need to trust I learn at least a little every day, although my monthly summaries tend to be more activity-focused than learning-oriented. However, my third year participating in the #Write31Days daily blogging challenge taught me it was okay not to go for perfection {as if anything any human ever did ever had been perfect} or completeness. For 2015 and 2016 I did 5 minute free writes to provided prompts; this was my first year writing to a topic, and my inspiration to write about Celebrating Place truly excited me. I knew it also would be a chance to include photographs and other illustrations. Very early on, my current situation of still needing healthy affordable housing along with continued discouragement and disappointments made daily blogging feel overwhelming. I finally convinced myself

1. this is a writing challenge; as much as pictures enhance a post, I can add those later.

2. unlike timed free writes where I only check to be sure auto-correct guessed correctly and delete mistakes like repeated words, for this series I could edit/expand my text later, and find additional illustrations when I actually had time.

• I was excited Laura agreed to guest blog about West Virginia; I'm still waiting for Malinda's contribution, and that's okay, too.

Luther World Federation Reformation

• Several Facebook friends found Reformation 500 overlays for their profile pictures; most were quite traditional in style – just as I tried to do on my graphics for this Reformation – but I happened to notice a friend in Previous city had a bright, contemporary, spring-like overlay from Lutheran World Federation...

porch stories button


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