Sweet Joy For Your Halloween

Long before any costuming or candy sharing or scary monstering became our fixation, October 31st has been a celebrated day for Christians. First, in older ways of counting days, in which the new day began at nightfall (yeah, weird, I know), the evening that we number 31 was the beginning of Christians’ observance of All Saints Day. This evening is now called “Halloween.” (“All Saints Evening” = “All Hallowed (people made holy) Evening” = “Hallowed Eve’ ” = “Halloween”)

It was an important day in the church for that reason and in 1517 gained a second layer of significance when Martin Luther posted 95 discussion points that he wanted to debate concerning the Roman church’s unbiblical teachings and practices concerning dead people (among other things).
(Check out this video series about Martin Luther and explanation of the controversies.)

Luther had been reading the Bible. In that day few people COULD read the Bible. Availability, literacy, and language issues made Luther one of the few people who had the chance to actually spend a lot of time studying the biblical text. Because he was a smart and talented guy and able to read the Bible in its original languages (and because it was his job as a university Bible professor to do so!), he realized there were some discrepancies between the Bible’s message and some (not all) prominent teachings and practices of the church. All his life he had been deeply burdened with fear of God because of his sins, but now he read for himself the actual Bible’s Good News. He discovered that the central message of the Bible was being burried by people’s mixed up, messed up ideas about forgiveness and life after death. We are saved not by our perfection (because we don’t achieve it) but by God’s underserved love for us ( grace) that sent His Son Jesus to do what was necessary for peace wih God and our eternal life with Him now and beyond death.

“[We] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:3-8, ESV)

So he went public with his views on October 31st, calling for a debate.

Luther’s joy in life was revived as a weight of fear was lifted by the Good News described and explained in the Bible. We too share this joy.

October 31 has long been… (yeah, yeah modern Halloween goofiness is what it is, but…) …the 31st is a day we celebrate the rediscovery of Good News, the gospel of Jesus Christ, that hit the world in a big way through the stubbornly passionate joy-founding arguments of Martin Luther before, on, and after Oct 31, 1517. We call it Reformation Day.

I want you to discover the Good News of Jesus Christ for your life (or at least be better informed, because the internet is increasingly filled with really stupid, uninformed assertions about the Bible). Do you have questions or doubts about the Bible? Check out the video I’ve posted on this page (above). It can be the start of something beautiful, something life-restoring (like it has been for Luther and countless others), or perhaps at least be an interesting glimpse at the most important, world-influencing document collection in the existence of humanity.

Enjoy a bit of Bible-sweetness today.

Pastor Stephen

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