My kids ruffled through our costumes in an attempted to dress up in reformation era style. Linzi felt her pink princess dress suited well. Before coming to dinner Rebecca had them line up in the hall. She passed out chocolate coins to them, according to their costume. Richly dressed people received more coins, poorly dressed people received less coins. She explained that as they came to the feast they must be prepared to pay for indulgences for their dead relatives so that they can move from purgatory to eternal life. Too bad for the poor people whose relatives would have to wait longer in purgatory! She also passed out sachets of lavender for them to ward off the bubonic plague, or covid-19, rather.
The table was set with a red cloth, representing martyred Christians. Since we live near the area where Jan Hus, predecessor to Martin Luther, lived we began by talking about him. He was burned at the stake for opposing the practice of indulgences. He is quoted saying, “they will roast this goose (hus means goose in Czech and Slovak) but after a hundred years they will hear a swan sing”. A hundred years later Martin Luther came on the scene.
Luther, through studying the word, especially Romans, began to see the many wrongs in the church. He wrote his 95 theses. We put our copy of the theses on the church door as he did on October 31, 1517, the day before all saints day, a holiday where people came to buy indulgences for their deceased relatives.
Next, we read the five Solas, starting with faith alone. This was the doctrine that convinced Luther that the church was wrong for selling indulgences as well as other views.
The church sent a letter to Martin Luther demanding that he recant his words or be excommunicated. We each received our own letter. Like him, we burned our letters in the fire.
He was then called to the city of Worm to appear before the Diet, a court of the church. This was his last chance to recant. We had a diet of worms in dirt for our dessert. They loved this. Because he refused to recant he was considered an enemy of the church and could face …
He became an outlaw and found refuge in his friend’s castle where he began translating the scripture into German so that common man could read. He also, along with many others, wrote hymns, such as A Mighty Fortress is our God. We talked about the significance that we can read the Bible in our own language because Luther considered it important for the Word to be translated. We also listened to the hymn. We discussed his view on marriage, and his criticism of the church stance that priest should not marry. So many of his teachings have influenced how we live and worship the Lord today.
Our duck dinner with purple cabbage and lokše, a traditional Slovak meal, was the perfect meal for our period evening. While this may look like a lot of effort, Rebecca easily found many of these ideas on other blogs and quickly decorated and organized the discussion for the evening. We all learned something each one of us enjoyed the evening.
Have you ever heard of celebrating Reformation Day?