Monday, November 05, 2007

Reformation Day 2007: after-action report

As I mentioned before, the Phillips family has always made this a special day. It had been just for us; then for the last two years, we opened our house to our church family to join in.

This year, since we have a "permanent" building, we moved our party there. Thank God, through my wife's sacrificially hard work and some terrific helpers (including the tireless Annette Christensen and her family), it was a terrific time. Here are some of the pictures.

We had a number of educational and fun games. One was a sheet of facts relating to the Reformation. Select adults had the answers and a bag of candy; the kids went around with their question sheets asking those adults ("What is a 'thesis'?"). When they got the answer, they got candy. Both learned!

Also, there was a game depicting Katherina von Bora's escape from the convent in barrels in 1523.

Then there was Luther's library. The kids could throw three bean bags. If they hit one of Luther's books, they lost a point. If they hit a heretical book, they gained one. Points translated to candy. (Say... do I see Your Best Life Now in there?)

Kids could also shoot some nerf arrows in the Thuringian Forest. (Do you know, my wife could not find bows and arrows with suction-cups! She looked everywhere. I think the Democrats outlawed them. Seriously. This is Kalifornia, after all.)

Meanwhile, though they tried, inquisitors could not get believers in God's free grace in Christ to recant.

Later, that scoundrel Johann Tetzel showed up hawking indulgences. He was very animated.

He actually made a few sales — until he was shooed off by Dr. Martin Luther himself.

Dr. Luther told the kids (you see King Josiah just to the left of the good Doctor) about his very different world, about his life, about his 93... no, 94... no, 95 Theses, about his translating the Bible, about the Diet of Worms. But particularly he was emphatic in telling them of his discovery that "the righteousness of God" in Romans 1:17 is speaking of "that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith."

Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time, and we were glad to be able to share, exalt the grace of God in Christ, and see so many smiles.


Unknown said...

Oh the ever creative Phillips clan! Awesome job! So cool to have it at the church! We had a poor-mans attempt at a Reformation Day here - managed to get the story out and sing a hymn, but nothing so creative as yours. We missed it sorely, and were with you in thought :-)

DJP said...

I just think it's so great that you did what you did — and in A Foreign Land! (Particularly in a land in which the ascendancy of papism is not a distant memory.)

I forget: have you done something like this all along, or was being at our Reformation Day parties in the past something of an inspiration?

Connie said...

Very nicely done, and thanks so much for sharing the details and pictures!

Tom Gee said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Dan!

Based on your previous post, we decided to have a visit from Dr. Luther at my house (although we had to wait until Friday).

The kids loved it. Dr. Luther, as you described in your previous post, talked about his life and how God worked through him. We also sang the Reformation Polka, although Dr. Luther had not practiced enough on his "lute" to play along. (We did get to burn the Papal Bull in the fireplace, though.)

We've decided to do this again next year, and have already talked to the church about next year having a surprise visit from Dr. Luther one evening after our normal kids' program.

So, thanks again for both your terrific exegetical insights, and your keen pastoral recommendations!!


DJP said...

Tom, that is just wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

My wife Valerie asks that I pass along to you a recommendation for the book A Night of Reformation. It is on sale right now at, she says.

Jim said...

Funny, I had expected Dr. Luther to be somewhat more rotund? :)

That must have been quite the evening.

DJP said...

You, sir, have made my day.

mikepettengill said...

Reason number 759 to miss home. Great job DJP, VP, and AC.

To answer your earlier question...your previous events inspired it should be, your work for the kingdom has now spawned the instruction of potentialy 20 missionary families who can now take such traditions to a dozen other countries...thanks. Praise Him.

Kevin said...

I also thought Luther had more hair.

DJP said...



Roderick_E said...

See the Youtube version of The Reformation Polka: