2017 marks the 500th year of the Reformation, a pivotal moment in history when Martin Luther and others began re-orienting the collective imagination and hearts of Christians towards new life in Jesus. It was an upheaval that had an effect on education, geo-politics, theology, and economics. But for most it opened the door for ordinary people to step into God’s presence and know that they were loved, it was as much a reformation of the heart as it was a reformation of society and the church.
Prior to the Reformation, only the elite could read the Bible in Latin and the ordinary people could only sit and wonder at what they heard. They wondered if their prayers, in rustic German, were even heard by God. Yet through the rediscovery of Scripture and a dynamic relationship with Jesus, that all began to change. God, they would discover, was not hidden in a cathedral beyond the reach of the hurting and the broken hearted.
In Psalm 66 we read a song for those people who come into God’s presence. They sing, they praise, and they remember all that God has done for them. There’s something that strikes me as very liberating and life-giving in the midst of this Psalm and in light of those pre-Reformation people who did not know if God was listening to them. Psalm 66:20 says, “Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.” Imagine hearing this and realizing that God was better, closer, and more loving than they might have ever known.
We celebrate that the Reformation is the spiritual forerunner of the Evangelical Covenant Church we know and love today. Today we stand on the shoulders of others who were alerted and surprised by the utter graciousness, nearness, and tender, passionate love of God. May you know that wherever you are, and whatever you do, God is listening and delights in revealing His love for you.