MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, October 27th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD Commentator Kim Henderson now on a unique fall celebration.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: Over there under a mulberry tree that will soon be losing its leaves, they’re tuning up dulcimers, a mandolin, and a very fine violin. But I guess since we’re at a farm, I should probably call it a fiddle.
A young woman adjusting a music stand tells us their group plays at functions like this one if promised food in return. Giving the dessert table a once-over, I determine the almond pound cake alone might be worth the trip.
So while fall displays its glories and babies are happily passed from one lap to another, I have the privilege of listening to their rendition of “Farther Along.” I am surprised by soft strains coming from a gentleman in a fancy reclining lawn chair. Who knew he had a harmonica in his pocket? And since when did lawn chairs become La-Z-Boys?
It is a unique gathering, this event described on the invitation as a Reformation Day party. And for a family like ours that’s been skipping the Halloween aisle at Walmart for years, it couldn’t come at a better time.
October 31st is actually a noteworthy day for reasons beside (or in spite of) jack-o-lanterns and haunted houses. In fact, many of the kids going door-to-door will list October 31, 1517, on a world history test at some point in their education, and it will have nothing to do with trick or treating. That’s because Martin Luther hammered his 95 theses to a church door in Germany on that historic date, lighting the match that sparked the Protestant Reformation.
History books tell us the young monk became so disillusioned with the excesses and outrages of the medieval church that he put his complaints into writing and posted them publicly. The fact that today we have Protestant churches – and even the United States – is due in part to what Luther risked so much to accomplish.
Like all of us, Luther was a flawed man with feet of clay. History books tell us that, too. But he did prove a single person can do much to effect change. It’s a church history lesson that’s especially relevant today—a strong encouragement to put our beliefs and practices up next to God’s Word, then cull and correct as necessary.
Still, why Reformation Day? Perhaps the question should be, why not? We celebrate all sorts of lesser things. Why not celebrate this pivotal point in history?
But back to our party and, better yet, homemade buns, stacked high with smoked turkey. Our fun hosts have led us in a scavenger hunt with questions like, “How did Luther respond to attempts to force him to recant?” (The answer: “Here I stand: I cannot do otherwise, so help me God!”)
We’ve also sung “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” written by guess who? And we had a good laugh over a Luther head piece crafted from a Justin Beiber wig.
Mostly though, we’re just enjoying our shared faith under the shade of a mulberry tree.
I’m Kim Henderson.