On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, in his “95 Theses” or “Disputation for Clarifying the Power of Indulgences,” offered what would become a call for reform of the church. Luther was urging the church of his day to wrestle, collectively, with the question of how a person is made right or righteous in the eyes of God.
Luther began his call for debate with a simple statement: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent,' he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
Luther makes this statement about a life full of repentance, over and against any sort of system in which one, in essence, makes oneself right with God through different “parts” of repentance which were encouraged by many in the church of his day: contrition, confession and satisfaction. The idea was that the sinful person must not only feel sorry for sin, but also must confess it and then make up for it somehow. For Luther, the sinful person is brought to sorrow over sin by hearing the Law of God which exposes sin for what it is, and the Gospel of God which tells the sinner that she or he is, despite and in the very midst of that sin, is still – always – God’s beloved creature. In that moment, without any further need for action or restitution, the sinner is set free and called “saint.”
“Project 31,” which will be taking place at Good Shepherd over the course of the coming year, celebrates the gift of justification by grace through faith which Luther returned to the church. And as we celebrate this great Good News, we will not only mark and honor the Reformation, but reclaim it for ourselves today.
“Project 31” will mark and reclaim this promise on each of the five “31sts” of the month from October through May. Here is brief glimpse at what we will be doing”
Our new catechism, and a new translation and setting (by Ralph Johnson and Pastor Jacobson) of an old hymn by Martin Luther will anchor a service of worship that will spill out into our neighborhood and invite all who hear to come and join in.
Join us in the early evening on this New Year’s Eve for a time of fellowship, prayer, and song, as we anticipate the coming year in the light of Christ, and the promise of new days and new creation.
During the week of January 29 to February 3, the South Metro Feed My Starving Children food pack will be taking place. This ministry is a great way to answer the Gospel and Lutheran call to love and care for our neighbor. On Wednesday, the 31st, our goal is as a congregation to take up every slot we can that evening.
The practice of keeping vigil on Easter Saturday – between the crucifixion of the Christ on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday – is an ancient one. Join us as we keep vigil at Good Shepherd in ways unique to this congregation, this people of God.
May 31: A Festival to the Lord
Here at the close of the church “year” we end with a great celebration. The neighborhood plaza party, combined with a stewardship gala, will conclude our program year, celebrate our life together and at the same time look forward to what the coming years will bring.