Today I began preparing for Reformation Sunday. Some of you might be saying “what’s that?”. Well, it’s the Sunday closest to October 31st, the 499th anniversary of the day Martin Luther began the Reformation by nailing 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg. It always amazes me how many Protestant Christians know next to nothing about the Reformation. After all, it’s the most important religious event of the last 1000 years. But then again we live in a country where most people probably can’t tell you who was president in the year they were born, must less what happened in Germany 5 centuries ago. (I know, I’m being smarmy, but it’s been that kind of day)
Still, for Lutherans at least, this is an important day, a day when we remember and celebrate the movement God began to reform His Church after many years of drifting away from it’s Biblical moorings. We’re going to sing Salvation Unto Us Has Come and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. We’re going to hear words about how God frees us from bondage to sin through Christ alone without any of the works of the Law. We’re going to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. We’re going to be blessed spiritually by worship, emotionally by the fellowship of other Christians and physically as we share a wonderful meal after the service.
So I’m busy preparing for that special Sunday service. I generally begin my sermon preparation on Tuesday by reviewing the texts and looking through commentaries and trying to get a fix on what aspect of God’s Word I will try to highlight that Sunday. I expect to write the sermon on Friday. In between, I expect to be in prayer about the words I will preach, that they will be true to the Word we have been given.
Now I know pastors spend more time thinking about such things than do most lay people. But truly everyone should spend time every week preparing themselves for worship. Everyone should seek to know themselves better and know their neediness even more every day. So when we come into the sanctuary we are truly ready to commit ourselves wholly and completely to God.
It’s way too easy to assume that worship is something you do for an hour or an hour and a half each week. Truly, though, worship is to be part of our everyday lives. We are to prepare ourselves for our time of worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ by worshiping each day. Preparing our hearts and minds for the proper reception of God’s gifts in the means of grace is part of the life of all who call upon the Name above every name–Jesus the Christ.