Reformation and Music

Did you know we are half way through the Luther Decade? Yes, it’s true. The Decade will end in 2017 at the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg. You can check out the official website here. You can click on the English flag in the top right corner to convert it to English.

The Decade is a big thing for those planning the event in Germany. It doesn’t appear to be a big thing in the U.S. I suppose we have too many other matters on our minds. Like the price of gasoline, which political party can throw the most mud, etc.

The official theme for 2012 is music. Martin Luther described the meaning of music for faith and soul this way, “Music is a gift of the Holy Spirit; it dispels the devil and makes the people joyful.” Luther was called the “Nightingale of Wittenberg” because of the many songs he had written. He highly esteemed the singing of the congregation as a “musical proclamation” of the Gospel and the new teachings.

I’m on the fence whether the Luther Decade should be promoted as a bigger event or not. The detriment of putting greater focus on it is that it may suck the church’s attention toward doctrine, ritual, tradition, and the past. When our attention goes in that direction, we are diverted from paying full attention to the poor, the sick, the weak, the oppressed, and bringing good news to them – food, medical care, justice, and equality, now and in the future.

The advantage of bringing attention to it is to mark and celebrate the courage of people who stood against the Goliath of institutional control and pointed to a God of goodness and love.  Whether right doctrine or proper placement of ritual and ceremony in Sunday morning services were improved isn’t as much the point as Is the church a truer image of the One it proclaims and follows as a result of the Reformation?

What do you think? Does the church look more like Jesus? How should we promote the Decade?

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