“The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone. How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?”
The late Middle ages was a time of political intrigue and turmoil – much like the atmosphere today. Yet within this turmoil, a new world was slowly taking shape. For centuries, the common people were governed by the ruling class. Democracy was non existent. The church played an important part in all of this, because of its extreme involvement in the lives of the people of that time. Truly, the only thing they had to hang on to in times of distress, was their religion. The religion of the day had become corrupted over time, by the church itself and its many “fund raising” activities.
The people were being sold a false sense of security when they purchased “indulgences” which would guarantee a shorter time in purgatory for those who had passed on. In other words, they were buying their families’ way into heaven.
In Rome, artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael were focused on realism and employed the use of scientific study in anatomy to create works that would live on in time forever. Architectural design included mathematical calculations and study of ancient building techniques to create newer and better edifices. Da Vinci experimented with different types of mechanical devices. He chronicled his studies in medical dissection, water flow, movement and aerodynamics – all of which laid the groundwork for future study in those areas.
The world was coming back to life after a deluge of disease and death caused by the Black Plague.
There was an awakening in exploration and discovery with the expeditions of men like Columbus and scientists like Galileo and Copernicus, who went on to prove that the earth revolved around the sun and was part of a much larger universe. Falling off the edge of the earth was no longer an option.
In England, a man was putting words together as had never been done before. “What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!” William Shakespeare – Hamlet.
In that same place, Henry the VIII was in the midst of his own fight with the church. His battle had to do with divorce, which is what he needed in order to marry the woman he loved – Anne Boleyn. This led to a reformation and the establishment of the Church of England, which he would preside over instead of the pope.
In Germany, a man named Martin Luther struggled daily with the weight of his sin. His conscience would not leave him alone. No matter what he sacrificed, no matter how much he prayed or beat himself – his sin remained. He knew that God was righteous and that’s what scared him.
During his lifetime he suffered with various physical ailments, including kidney stones, (another reason I can relate to this guy) constipation, bouts of depression and anxiety. He was just a man – like you and me, but he changed the way the world thought and how they related to a righteous God.
This time period included the invention of the printing press as well – the tool of the day to get the word out – much like the Twitter Feed of the Reformation. We have even more sophisticated tools available today to spread the truth of God’s Word. It’s time for another reformation – a revival of what once was – a return to the God of our fathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let’s do this!