Reformation 500

October 31, 2017 (All Saints' Eve) marked the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, which was ignited by Luther's posting of "The 95 Theses" on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517. A small committee worked on commemorative publications, projects, and events for St. Mark's, which culminated in our own festival worship on the morning of October 29 (Reformation Sunday). The Washington DC Metropolitan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) sponsored a Reformation Service at 4:00 PM that afternoon (October 29) in the Washington National Cathedral. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton preached. The previous Sunday, October 22, the National Lutheran Choir under the direction of David Cherwien presented a concert in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington at 7:00 PM.

At the end of our Reformation service, a commemorative booklet was distributed to each worshiper as a memento of this anniversary year. Thanks to the Reformation 500 Committee for bringing this project to fruition, especially our "editor in chief" Cheryl Dwyer and Ron and Abby Johnson, who researched and wrote LutherFacts. All members of the committee contributed to this and other projects throughout the year. They are Joan Enerson, Sandy Lind, Tim and Ginger Lutz, and Dino and Linda Vretos. Their generosity of time, thought, and enthusiasm has made it an exciting journey. Thanks to these and all other members of St. Mark's who in any way contributed to our 500th!

~ Chris Michaelsen, Chair

Reformation Reverberations

Faith alone. Grace alone. Christ alone. Scripture alone. Gloria to God alone.
Sola fide. Sola gratia. Solus Christus. Sola scriptura. Soli deo gloria.

These are the five "solas," on which our pastors have chosen to preach during these final weeks of the church year as we continue our commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 20th century German Lutheran theologian and pastor of the "Confessing Church," wrote:

Faith alone justifies. Our Protestant church is built on this sentence. Luther found in the Bible the sole answer to man's question:  "How can I justify myself in the sight of God?" By believing his grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. The answer to the question of how man is justified in the sight of God is this:  by grace alone, through faith alone. Therefore we can turn around the final sentence of 1 Corinthians 13, "So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." with good reason and say:  And if I have all love so that I do all good works but have not faith, I am nothing. Faith alone justifies. But love perfects. Faith and hope will enter into eternity changed into the form of love. At the end everything must become love. Perfection means love. But the sign of perfection in this world is “cross." That is the way perfected love must go and always will go in this world.

          Martin Luther (1483-1546)

          Martin Luther (1483-1546)