500 years ago today, a German monk proclaimed the Church was not acting as it should and with pen, paper, a nail and a hammer - set off a ripple which would soon turn the tides of how people interact with their faith in Christ. Luther's famous 95 Theses outlined his disgust with the Church to sell "indulgences", which were offered as ways to get family members and loved ones out of purgatory (of which he pointed out, is not even mentioned in scripture). His action, in some ways, seems to parallel Jesus' zealous cleansing of the temple. Like Jesus, Luther didn't condemn the Church itself, but rather the actions of those who were defiling it with greed.
While Luther's Theses set in motion a transformation of the Church and a personalized faith by sola fide and sola scriptura (salvation by faith alone and scripture as infallible), a fracturing of the Church did happen, which still is evident and ongoing today. Light Up the City desires to take the focus off of our differences and view them as opportunities to represent Christ to one another. Differences are relevant, but with a Kingdom mindset (one that focuses on Jesus as King and loving God and neighbor) we can set them aside to better serve and love our cities as one Church. Unity is complex and challenging; however, we are called to remember and live out Jesus' prayer, found in John 17, among eleven friends, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me"
So, today we mark 500 years of reformation from the Catholic Church. We recognize the significance of this movement, yet we long to see the denominational barriers, which were an unintended byproduct, unite in relationship as sisters and brothers in Christ.
We hope that in this 501st year, a new chapter will begin to unify and strengthen the bonds of the Body- to live out Jesus' prayer, that we may all be one, so the world might see and believe.