Devotional article for The Greybull Standard

and The Republican Rustler

A Special Celebration, and a Strangely Special one at that

At Grace and Zion Lutheran churches we have a very special celebration coming up these days: the celebration of the Reformation. On the last Sunday in October we shall celebrate the important event that the Reformation was: that the truth of God, so long forgotten in His Church, was given back to His Christians, His precious Gospel of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him in glory being won for sinners, fully and completely, with what the Son of God has done for us in His life and His death, and given to sinners, fully and completely and freely and for nothing, out of His goodness and mercy alone, and for no other reason whatsoever, with His Word and promise.

This is always a special celebration in our churches. No wonder; after all, it is the celebration of what the faith is all about, the Lutheran faith, and the Christian faith, and our life with God.

This year, though, we have another and particularly special celebration of the Reformation before us: next year will be the 500th anniversary of what is considered the beginning of the Reformation, Martin Luther's 95 Theses being posted on the door of the Castle Cathedral in Wittenberg in 1517. And as such, we shall dedicate a lot of our attention in the upcoming year to the rediscovery and restoration of God's precious truth of salvation to His Church. No wonder.

And yet, in a strange way, there is something strange about this celebration being so special. For the rediscovery of God's precious truth of salvation is really what each and every one of our worship services is all about, each and every Sunday.

The assurance of being right with God by His mercy is not one we sinners can just constantly have; not in our own hearts and minds. Constantly our sinful nature leads us to look away from the truth of God and seek assurance of being right with God in our own goodness and godliness instead; and we are lead either into despair or into the false assurance of ungodly arrogance and sinful pride.

That is why we constantly need to be turned away from our ungodly obsession with our own goodness and godliness, and have the eyes of our hearts turned instead to the goodness of God given to us in the Gospel. And that is what Lutheran preaching does, and Lutheran teaching, and Lutheran worship – always; on the last Sunday of October as on all other Sundays; in 2017 as every other year.

Nevertheless, we shall celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as a special celebration. And we shall do so joyfully. As we shall celebrate the 499th anniversary, and the 501st; as we celebrate the salvation of God every Sunday.

Pastor Jais H. Tinglund

Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem