In observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church join together in worship on Sunday, October 29th at 11:00am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Park City, Utah.
Many people ask about the significance of what happened 500 years ago when Martin Luther prepared and posted his 95 theses at Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s action started a dialogue that changed the way Lutherans receive and share the gospel. In the last 50 years Lutherans and Catholics have been engaged in dialogues both nationally and globally that have led to a remarkable series of agreements on church teaching and practice…conversations about church, ministry, and Holy Communion that are on-going and building stronger Catholic-Lutheran relations.
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to communicate the Reformation’s significance for faith and life in the twenty-first century as well as the freedom we have in Christ that liberates us for a renewed life of joyfully serving our neighbors and creation. The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity, as Lutherans and Catholics, to commemorate our common understanding of the past, our collaboration in the present, and our hopes for the future.
From an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA, Lutheran’s perspective, we are surrounded with a spirit of thankfulness. In that spirit the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to bear witness to the hope and joy we have in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We Lutherans overwhelmingly use the word “grace” when describing our relationship with God. Martin Luther described grace as “God’s favor or good will toward us” in Jesus Christ. This liberating experience of who God is for humankind is the heart of Lutheran teaching and practice as Lutherans live and serve in a wide range of contexts in the United States and globally. We understand that our sharing of God’s gifts is not an end point but rather a part of our faith journey. We journey forward in greater unity with our ecumenical partners, especially our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers. We celebrate that Pope Francis joined with Lutherans to inaugurate the 500th anniversary year at the Lund Cathedral in Sweden. We join Pope Francis and commemorate our common Christian past, our shared present, and a future of hope. Together we joyously proclaim Christ’s presence, the love of God, in our lives.
Christ’s Peace, Pastor Steve Leiser