"Pastor's Reformation Bible Reading Challenge"
2017 will be the year commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which historians argue started on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed the famous 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. That anniversary is
almost exactly 500 days from now, minus Sundays.
The ELCIC has issued a Reformation Challenge of sponsoring 500 refugees, planting trees and gathering money. That's great, and we're doing our part. However I think there's a crucial challenge missing: Reading Scripture. So I challenge us to spend 5 minutes of each of the next 500 days reading the Bible. I am convinced that, if we dedicate a few minutes of every day to the source of our faith and life in Scripture, we will experience a reformation, individually and collectively, like the one 500 years ago.
The reformation didn't start in October 1517. It started long before that courageous act, when Luther's pastor challenged him to read the Bible. Johann Staupitz even sent him off to a quiet provincial town with a new university, in order to teach it. Through the study of the Word, God prepared Luther personally for what he later would proclaim publically, standing up to pope and emperor.
The Bible is as dynamic today as it was 500 and 2000 years ago. It still has the power to transform from the inside out. But let's face it, we Christians don't read it enough and we suck at proclaiming our personal faith in public. I suspect it's because few of us know what we really believe. What we need is biblical information, to prepare us for personal transformation, and equip us for public reformation.
So today I challenge myself to challenge you to read God's Word, our book of faith, together with me. In Sunday morning adult class, I will discuss with you HOW we as Lutherans read the Bible. One Sunday per month I will preach on this topic. During the week I invite you to call me and discuss what you have read. In addition I will be posting short reflections on our website.
I suggest that we follow a plan, or lectionary, which ensures we are all "on the same page". This plan does not cover every verse of the Bible in 500 days, but it is integrated with the Sunday lessons. So you read passages that relate to the lessons coming up from Thursday to Saturday, and passages that relate to last Sunday's lessons from Monday to Wednesday. This plan can be started immediately and can be picked up again in case you miss a day.
Here are the readings for April, which you can also find online with a direct link to a Bible website. Just copy the link into your browser and bookmark it. Then every morning at breakfast click on the bookmark and select the readings for the day. With two clicks you are there.
If you are using an actual Bible, I congratulate you. Books don't flicker with ads. They don't use as much energy and don't hurt your eyes. You are using good old reformation technology!