Today, on Reformation Sunday, we celebrate Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, now regarded as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and the birthday of the Lutheran Church. What often gets lost in the celebration is that it was not Luther’s intention to start a new church; he wanted to draw attention to the practices within the Catholic Church he felt needed change, areas where he felt current practice had strayed from true service of the Gospel.

Luther’s desire for change started a revolution. The Lutheran willingness to stand up against injustice and work for change has been a proud part of our denominational heritage in the centuries ever since. Today, the Lutheran Church works around the globe to bring aid, education, comfort, and the Gospel to those in need.

And yet, for us as individuals within the Lutheran family, the thought of change can be overwhelming. Perhaps you know you need to change something in your life, but you don’t think you have the strength. Perhaps you want to help change a larger social ill, but you don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you are awed by the immense presence of sorrow and pain in the world, and don’t think there’s any way to turn the tide.

Luther offers us guidance here, too. He always turned to Scripture first, to find guidance and strength. He prayed powerfully but simply. And he saw the value of striving, no matter the odds, to make a difference for the people of God: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,” he wrote, “I would still plant my apple tree.”

Later this morning, we will celebrate Reformation Sunday with a pancake brunch and a screening of the film Luther. We hope you will join us for food and fellowship. And may we all be inspired to stand up for the truth of the Gospel, work for change, and plant our apple trees.

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Martin Luther, 1483-1546