So this week happens to be the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. At first when I heard that, I brushed it off. Cool! Our Christian beliefs are really old. That's awesome. And that was about all the thinking I put into it at first. This afternoon, at 3:00pm, two entire classes of the Reformed church gathered in our very own BJ Haan auditorium for a combined worship service. (Now I have to be honest here, when I first heard about it, I was not too excited about it. Growing up, I never enjoyed the combined services as much as I did my own church just because they were bigger.) When I heard that my pastor was preaching at this one and two choirs from the local high schools were singing at it, a friend and I decided to go. Even today, I was excited to hear the preaching and singing, but generally wasn't looking forward to the service all that much. (I mean, come on, 3:00 is prime nap time on a Sunday afternoon!) ;) But upon arriving at 2:50pm and seeing the entire lower level of the BJH already entirely packed and the whole pew section of the balcony filled, we knew we were about to experience a massive service, and an awesome one at that. The remaining bleacher section of the balcony even filled up and from what I heard, the service was even being live streamed into the science building so it could be used as a backspace if the BJH couldn't hold everyone.
Despite the hot temperatures and body to body contact with the people next to and in front of or behind us, nothing could dull that service. From the beautiful organ sound, to more than 1,000 people raising their voices together, to the brass quintet, to the Spanish version of Hosanna, to the beautiful dissonance of Amazing Grace by the high school choirs, to the truth preached about us being priests and being invested in the work of God's people, to the authenticity of the sacrament we celebrated, the Holy Spirit was present. It became so evident to me how faithful the Lord has been to us. The fact that he used Martin Luther and other reformers to bring us to the faith we have now, and that God has not only sustained but allowed this faith to thrive and grow. A pastor from Kansas City who was interviewed for a video showed in the service made a statement that he would not have the job he has without the Reformation 500 years ago. This makes absolute sense, but I had never previously thought about that. In fact, without the Reformation, I would not be writing this right now because Dordt College would not even exist! That's a crazy thought. God is forever faithful. God is so good.
"Semper reformanda," a phrase Aaron Baart used often in his chapel series last spring about "what does is mean to be reformed?" was used by another pastor tonight. "Semper reformanda," always reforming. Just because the reformation happened 500 years ago, does not mean we do not continue to be reformed. We celebrate that together today, tomorrow, Tuesday (Reformation Day,) and everyday!
Sola Scriptura. Sola fide. Sola gractia. Solus Christus. Soli deo gloria.