http://www.biography.com accessed 10/20/14
Reformation Sunday is the Sunday before
Reformation Day (October 31), which commemorates Martin Luther posting 95 theses on the
church door in Wittenberg that called for reform of the Catholic Church. The
reformers did not intend to break away from the Catholic Church; rather, the 95
theses codified their primary concerns, crucial doctrine from which they felt
the Catholic Church had strayed:
· salvation by grace through faith,
· centrality of the Word (both preached and visible in
the Lordís Supper),
· and participation of all people in worship through congregational
singing and vernacular reading of scripture and preaching.
The Catholic Church was divided, and the
Protestant Reformation began.
Gather together to hear stories of faith and courage.
Listen for the ways God has acted among us.
Our ancestors in the
faith listened for Godís word.
They dared to believe
Leaders like Moses and Paul, Martin Luther and John Calvin, saw
evidence of Godís work.
They believed they were face-to-face with Godís truth.
They looked beyond the present
They lived for dreams not
Many felt Godís love in knowing Jesus.
They experienced a new relationship with neighbors.
We have come seeking
community centered in Christ.
We want to feel Godís
presence as we worship.
of the Day
Let us pray.
God, you have been our
dwelling place in all generations. Before the earth was formed, long before
there were people on this planet, you were fashioning life in its myriad forms.
Out of the billions of years you have been creating, our lives have come to
this moment of meeting. We stand in awe before you, amazed to discover that you
care about us, tiny blips on the screen of eternity. O God, we want our lives
to count for something. Show us how to fit into your plans. Amen.
John Knox: A Fierce and
By Charles A. Wiley III
Something happened in the
middle of the twentieth century: a revival of the work and influence of
John Calvin. This has been a good thing for our church. But this great emphasis
on Calvin has obscured a bit the vital role that John Knox played in the
forming of our tradition.
While the major source of our
Reformed tradition is found in the Swiss Reformation of Zwingli and Calvin, our
American Presbyterian tradition is rooted in the English, and even more so in
the Scottish Presbyterianism in which John Knox was the most important
Knoxís early Reformation
efforts were rewarded with being forced to row as a galley slave in a French
ship. It is unclear how he was released, but he eventually served in exile as a
chaplain in the Church of England and helped influence the text of the Book
of Common Prayer. But when Mary came to the throne and re-instituted the
Roman Catholic faith, Knox fled to Geneva where he became a confidant of John
Calvin and became the pastor of the English-speaking congregation there.
Inspired by Calvinís theological and ecclesiastical vision, Knox returned to
Scotland and helped to lead the revolution that led to the ousting of Mary of
Guise and the reformation of the Church of Scotland.
Knoxís legacy to us has many
commitment to the reformation of the church;
a deep commitment
to the sovereignty of God that doesnít allow anyone to take up the mantle of
God, whether king or queen in the state or the bishop in the church;
commitment to the parity of ministers and elders continues to mark us; and
the practice of
fervent prayer as a means to intimacy of God, and of strict self-examination
before coming to the Lordís table.
Although the roots of
American Presbyterianism come from a number of directions, and are growing more
complex over time, the single strongest root is the result of the migration of
generations of Scottish and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians that formed the backbone
of American Presbyterianism and continues to shape us.
Rev. Charles A. Wiley III,
Ph.D., is coordinator of the Office of Theology and Worship for the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/john-knox-500/ accessed 10/20/14.