From the Rector
October 31st marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door in 1517, signalling the start of the Protestant Reformation. He was protesting against the practice of indulgences, where the good deeds of the saints could be purchased to reduce time spent in purgatory, before arriving in heaven. For Luther, this cheapened grace, repentance and forgiveness: ‘You can’t buy God’s friendship!’ Luther rediscovered the truths of God’s grace: ‘For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.’ (Romans 1:17). He recognised that righteousness (being right with God) and forgiveness are not earned by good works, but faith. The undeserved love of God and his acceptance is a matter of trust. This challenge to the church of Luther’s day remains so today! At the Diet (Council) of Worms, he refused to recant his views: ‘Here I stand; I can do no other!’ Luther stood for the free forgiveness of the gospel, by which God accepts us because of the death of Jesus on our behalf to deal with our sin. Is this what we believe? Only trusting Jesus can make us right with God. We will continue to get things wrong, but God never gives up on us!
Your friend and Rector