On this day 495 years ago, Martin Luther either did or did not post 95 theses on the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg. Whatever the historical reality, this day is celebrated by Lutherans and many other Protestants as Reformation Day. We Anglicans are uncomfortable with it because we’re not sure we’re Protestant (The Episcopal Church removed “Protestant” from its official title some years ago). Whatever.
I preached this sermon on Reformation Sunday at Luther Memorial Church two years ago.
And because I’ve been thinking a great deal about eucharistic theology, a quotation from Luther’s Confession concerning Christ’s Supper (1528):
See, then, what a beautiful, great, marvelous thing this is, how everything meshes together in one sacramental reality. The words are the first thing, for without the words the cup and the bread would be nothing. Further, without bread and cup, the body and blood of Christ would not be there. Without the body and blood of Christ, the new testament would not be there. Without the new testament, forviveness of sins would not be there. Without forgiveness of sins, life and salvation would not be there. Thus the words first connect the bread and cup to the sacrament; bread and cup embrace the body and blood of Christ; body and blood of Christ embrace the new testament; the new testament embraces the forgiveness of sins; forgiveness of sins embraces eternal life and salvation. See, all this the words of the supper offer and give us, and we mebrace it by faith.” (Luther’s Works, vol. 37, p. 388)