Pastor’s Page – October 2022

Dear Friends and Family of St. Paul’s,

We celebrate Reformation Sunday each year on the last Sunday in October. Officially, Reformation Day falls on October 31. But what’s the point? Why do we celebrate this day?

On the one hand, Reformation Day celebrates the work of Martin Luther and other theologians in the 16th century. While Martin Luther wasn’t the first to develop questions about the teachings of the Roman church, the invention of the printing press meant that he was the first to be able to widely distribute his thoughts and writings. When Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, which were 95 points on which he disagreed with the church’s teachings on indulgences, his goal was not to leave the Roman church. This was meant to be an invitation to debate, and Luther was intending to enter into conversation about church reforms, not creating a new church. Unfortunately, rather than enter into debate, and after additional writing and teaching against the church doctrine of the time, the leaders of the Roman church excommunicated (expelled) Martin Luther. Luther continued teaching and writing, along with friends like Philip Melanchthon, who worked closely with him, and defended Luther’s writing in public. From these two theologians stem the foundation documents, “The Confessions” of the Lutheran church.

However, Reformation Day is about more than celebrating history and the foundation of the Lutheran church. The remarkable nature of the Reformation period is about something larger than the people involved or the writings that were produced. During this time period, a Spirit of change was moving within the church, and “the way it’s always been done” was being called into question. Why was scripture only to be read by priests and monks? What was the purpose of church attendance? What was the purpose of giving to the church? How is God at work in the sacraments? These questions, and many more, drove the work of the Reformation theologians.

This same Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is at work in our church today too. How is the Spirit moving here at St. Paul’s? Do we have a Spirit of change or a Spirit of something else? What does the future of our church look like? With God’s help, how do we want to shape the future? How is God forming and re-forming us to equip us for service? Who is God calling St. Paul’s to be in the coming years?

These are the questions that the Holy Spirit asks us today, and these are the questions that the Spirit has been asking throughout the generations. Reformation Day is not only about looking back upon history; it is also about looking forward to the future into which God is leading us. On Reformation Day, we celebrate the way in which the Holy Spirit continues to be active in our churches and in our hearts, driving us to be changed—to be reformed—by God’s Word.


Rev. Jessica Hahn