Originally posted 10/14/09
What is Reformation Day?
We celebrate Reformation Day (Oct 31). For those of you who also might like to celebrate this year, I thought I'd better post some stuff so you can plan your special day. Over the next couple of days, I'll be reposting some ideas from last year as well as some new items.
To me, Reformation Day is an opportunity to teach my kids a little church history and instill in them the message that our salvation is through faith not works. And, yes, this my attempt to create an alternative to the spooky stuff (and sometimes evil) associated with Halloween. Let me be clear: I'm not saying you're bad if you celebrate Halloween. No judgment here, my friends. This is just something we are doing for our family.
Let's start with...What is Reformation Day?
- On Oct 31, 1517, Martin Luther (then a Catholic monk) posted his 95 Theses (or statements) on the door the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This act triggered the movement in world history known as the Reformation.
- The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. At that time, the Roman Catholic Church had become corrupt and was teaching false doctrines like salvation through good works. Some were selling “indulgences.” They said if you purchased these indulgences, you would gain forgiveness for sins.
- Although, Reformation Day is more commonly celebrated in the Lutheran Church, Martin Luther is a hero of faith for us, too. Protestant churches that we worship in today are the result of Luther's brave acts to restore the gospel—salvation through Jesus Christ—to its rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity.
- The story of Martin Luther is one of courage, adventure, mystery and triumph. There are many aspects to the story and many theological implications. Explaining all these items can be confusing for some younger children. To help my pre-school age children understand the Reformation, I focused on the fact that Martin Luther helped people realize that salvation is only through Jesus Christ:
- “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Also, the illustrated book above is a great resource. Beautiful illustrations and it does a great job outlining the history. The text may be a little long on some pages for really tiny ones, but I just abbreviate as I read sometimes.