Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So, what are you (and/or your church) doing for Reformation Day?

This year, October 31 falls on a Sunday, presenting a wonderful opportunity to preach a Reformation-themed sermon. I had that joy four years ago — or, well, I reached for it, since 29 is pretty close to 31. The sermon was called Five "Alones" That Changed Everything, taken from Romans 1:17.

For some 20 or so years, we've had a yearly family tradition. We....

Oh, first, I should say: we don't "do" Halloween. When I was a Dodgers fan, I probably wouldn't have gone to a victory party for the evil Giants. Even more, I just don't see the sense in a Christian joining in a party thrown by the other side. Your mileage may vary.

So anyway, what we do is the kids gather in the front room with a fire going and the lights down, and... so far every year, Dr. Martin Luther has appeared, told about his experience in thunderstorm, his misery as a monk, and the freedom he came to find through the truth of Romans 1:17. Then, so the klein kinder will remember the sweetness of the Gospel, he gives them some chocolate.

It's pretty neat, I guess. But, sadly, I always seem to miss him!

We have opened our house on some years to our church family, hosting a variety of Reformation-themed activities and games. The Presbyterian church we attended and served in for about six years came to embrace it as well, as we brought them our traditions of roasting the Papal bull" (tri-tips), singing The Reformation Polka, and various instructive activities.

You can see posts I've done on Reformation Day (always overlooked by raised-pinkie bloggers, for some reason):
So, there's ours. What's yours?


CGrim said...

You've inspired me to come up with some sort of tradition.

Growing up, my parents were of the persuasion that Halloween is one of the few holidays where non-Christians came to our door, so they went with the old tract-with-the-candy trick. (Treat?)

Even as an 8 or 9-year-old, I didn't think the tracts were very good, though, so who knows how effective it was. (Father, bless our clumsy efforts.)

Jason Woelm said...


As a family, we don't celebrate Halloween either, and we are planning to take our church's students out to celebrate the life Christ brings us through the Gospel. Tonight, for our Awana students, I'll be dressing up as Martin Luther. I've already got the 95 theses printed out :).

As for Sunday, I have the privilege to begin a series on hell (not quite Reformation stuff, but some poignant application for Halloween is in store). My text is Mark 9:42-48. Please pray for me.

Terry Rayburn said...

We give out "Dodgers" tracts to the little "Giants" kids in little bags of candy.

TM said...

Dan, are you saying you show a Martin Luther movie or read something? If so, I'd be curious what you show and tell.


Brad Williams said...

I dress my children up like Super-Heroes or Super-villians and raid my neighbors for candy. If any Christians refuse to comply, we roll their yards with toilet paper. Alas, I also dye Easter eggs on Easter. :(

This year, my son will dress up as Darth Vader. I anticipate dying of the force grip choke hold about 150 times. My daughter will be Yoda. I hope that she will sometimes come to my rescue.

I also enjoy patting the small werewolves and various zombies and such on the head as they come for candy. I say, "Now, isn't that nice boys and girls! Your outside now matches your inside hearts, you little reprobates! Now have some candy and a tract you probably won't read!"

Ah...good times.

lee n. field said...

My church? Probably nothing. I'll say "Froliche Reformationstag!" and get blank looks.

Off their radar, alas.

Me? I'll try to find some way to properly enjoy the one day in seven given us as a sign of eschatological rest.

Holler-ween? In this town, celebrated the night before this year. One or two of the neighborhood rugrats will show up at our door. Dearest Wifey will have some candy bars and (I'm pretty sure) tracts.

Gabby said...

What a DELIGHT this post was, Dan! Each and every link I clicked on was happier (and more edifying) than the last one. You've inspired me to have my own Reformation Day weekend. I printed out several of the articles linked and bookmarked several of the sermons to listen to.

But my favorite was the pic of you as Martin Luther. :) You resemble him in your monk's garb!

Nice work. Thank you for sharing all of this. It was a wonderful way to start my day!

Fred Butler said...

We're going to dress up like Bible characters. Maybe Sisera with a tent peg in his temple and Eglon with a sword stuck in his side. My one son is looking forward to being Herod, who was consumed by worms...and then died.

But we won't have any Satan costumes.

Robert said...

So have you reformed and become a Giants fan now? I grew up in a city where the Giants' AA team played, so I am a Giants fan.

Our oldest son has decided he is too old for putting a costume on to go get candy. There is a local church that is doing trunk or treating in their parkign lot, so maybe we'll check that out. And I have the movie that your picture is from, so maybe we'll watch it. My New Orleans Saints will be takign on the steel curtain that night, too. Maybe I'll put that on the DVR.

DJP said...

My standard response would be "I don't follow soccer."

But no, never.

Actually I bailed on baseball altogether during a strike some years ago. It was so self-indulgent, so spoiled — and I usually despise strikes anyway — that I washed my hands of baseball, period.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

In true church fashion, we're having a special Reformation service in the evening, followed by a potluck. Or, you know, a hot dish dinner.

Love the links - many thanks! Think I'll bring some roasted "Papal" bull, or maybe a Diet of (gummy) Worms.


DJP said...

I'm not a big Gummi work fan, but the Diet of (Gummi) Worms is actually very yummy.

David Regier said...

I'm setting fire to a bag of Theses on the Pope's doorstep. Then I ring the doorbell and run.

DJP said...

Run fast. I hear the Vatican guard's extra-cranky around the 31st.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

BTW, what a pity you always "miss" old Martin Luther, yah?

Love your linking the sweetness of the gospel with the candy. Much more creative than just buying them off with a bag of chocolate... as I've been known to do.

BTW, there's a devotion book we use leading up to Reformation Day called "Family Celebrations" by Ann Hibbard. (Actually she has three or four, centered around different holidays.) She focuses more on All Saint's Day than Reformation Day, but the devotions are applicable either way.

At risk of being annoyingly self-promoting (and to keep a long comment short), I have a post that tells more about it here -


Mike Westfall said...

A hot dish dinner sounds great. I'll pass on the lutefisk, though.

Cathy M. said...

Reformation Day? I'll bet there won't be more that two people in church on Sunday that'll even know what it is. We're doing pastor appreciation in the a.m. and "trunk or treat" in the p.m. I'll be pulling kitchen duty for both I'm sure.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

I've never heard of this "trunk or treat"! Um... kind of a tailgate candy party?

threegirldad said...

kind of a tailgate candy party?

Yep. Rows of cars in a parking lot (church or otherwise). Kids go from car to car instead of from house to house.

Rachael Starke said...

We'll be going Trick or Treating with our lost neighbors, including one who very graciously pooh-poohed my youngest's indignant screaming at them as they drove off in their spider-and-cobweb decorated van:

"You Don't Wuv Jeezzus and You Wuv Scary Stuff!"

Oy. (And yes, technically that's true, but I'm pretty sure the point of Frank's Pyro post is that there are, ahem, better approaches.)

Then, we'll go next door to have chili and Margarita (for us, singular, for them many). The lady hosting has just been abandoned by her husband. Another neighbor has just gotten legal custody of her two-year-old grandson because her daughter is in jail for making crystal meth. I've been praying for several weeks now to have opportunities to share the gospel with either or both of them, and this will be my first big opportunity, so your prayers are appreciated.

Then we'll go home to our beds before the Drunk or Treating gets underway.

No Reformation Day stuff. In our closest circle, that makes us really countercultural. We're good with that. :)

Rachael Starke said...

And, in another example of how alike you and my Phil are, Dan, he gave up baseball and all other sports for exactly the same reason. When the girls were told at school they could dress in Giants' colors, my youngest burst into tears because she wanted to be a princess, not a giant. :)

Pooka said...

What's amazing to me is... I never heard of this. Where have I been?

This sure makes my Sunday look extra good. (As if it wasn't good enough just being Sunday).

Having spent 10 years celebrating the wiccan October 31st, I've been rather unhappy with the whole Halloween thing.

So I just gotta say WOOT! Thanks, DJP!

Sir Aaron said...

My wife and I decided after becoming Christians that we didn't think that we would not celebrate Halloween. When you don't have kids, that's not much of an issue. Now my daughter is four so I've had to tell people that my kids will not be participating. I'm clearly at odds not only with the heathen but with most other Christians. My church is doing nothing for Reformation Sunday and are providing tracts for people to hand out to trick or treaters (they recommend you do it with candy).

I haven't yet decided what to do about Reformation day with my family. It's hard with a four year old and a one year old, but I figure you have to start practicing now. I'm very interested in hearing more details about your night with the family, Dan.

CR said...

Terry: We give out "Dodgers" tracts to the little "Giants" kids in little bags of candy."

Bless you, Terry!

ethanasmith said...

Here is a very good article on "why all good Christians should celebrate Halloween" ...

VcdeChagn said...

Ok bibchr brain trust:

"Do you think faith is easy?"

Which Martin Luther movie is this from? It's not from the 1953 movie (at least the copy that I have doesn't have it in it), and it's not from the new 200x one either.

I believe he's talking to students when he says it in response to some question.

I can only find one reference to it online in someone's sermon.

Any ideas?