October 31, 2008

Halloween and Reformation Day

Everyone knows that today is Halloween and it has its pros and cons. In my adulthood, I've heard moreso the cons. It is the one time a year one could dress up to be what one might wish to be, though I think we wear plenty of masks throughout the year.

As kids, we used to plan way ahead as to what we wanted to be. We did it as a neighborhood, community thing, and often tended to coordinate a theme, which always included our wagon. It's nostalgic, primarily remembering the freedom to roam, because our parents felt it safe. And we did roam!

My kids always costumed up for Family Fun Night at our old church, planning as a family. Throughout the years we've often won the costume contest in some category. Before Monte and me were married we won with our cave men costumes. In fact, it was the only picture my mom had to send to distant relatives, and when we were married, visiting the relatives they said, "you DO look different from your picture!" ;^)

In all we do, God looks at the intentions of our heart.

 With God-in-our-midst we can enjoy fall decor and apples and pumpkins and corn and scarecrows! ... and love the candy and costumed people!
Jesus said "I am the light of the world" and as believers in Him, we know the end of the story: He's already won the victory over darkness. "Hallow" means "to make holy." Halloween is the eve of All Hallows Day or All Saints Day.

I remember that October 31st is Reformation Day - when Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis on the castle door. The thesis were asking the church to reform. The castle door was used as a bulletin board and he was asking people to debate. There's more to this story that's not usually told related to the castle door (tomorrow: the rest of the story).

Luther wasn't the 1st asking for reform. It had been asked for ages by various peoples, including many female "saints". The time was ripe for him to hatch the egg that had been laid.

The Muslim Turks were on the rampage. Many people in the Middle East were escaping into Europe - bringing ancient manuscripts. The Religious and Secular Enlightenment was a result of these manuscripts. People for the first time in Europe were seeing the original Greek and Hebrew writings (and art). There was a surge of language study. Also, the printing press was invented, with the Bible being the first book printed in the mid 1400's.

So people were finally able to read the Bible for themselves. Erasmus actually gave the Pope a Bible he had translated from the original languages and the Vulgate
side-by-side (remember I told you about Jerome?) along with his personal notes about where the church was wrong. (Erasmus and Luther debated a lot. Erasmus never left the Church, whereas Luther did, marrying a nun - Katharine.)

There's tons leading up to Martin Luther along with his own story that's too much to tell here. All I'll say is that with the Muslims pressing into Europe from Spain and the East - kings, Popes, and Lords were so preoccupied with keeping alliances for potential battle at their borders, that Luther was not burned at the stake for being a heretic.
 His Prince Frederick whisked him off after his trial to a hidden place. During that time Luther translated the Bible.
 (I love the movie "Luther".)
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