In Reformatory

The United Reformed Church – So Reformation must be dear to us, as we are reminded of it every time we say our denomination name. Maybe because our heritage isn’t directly and solely back to Martin Luther’s nailing his theses on the church door (there have been a few mixed marriages on the way!) we haven’t made such a big fuss here, as in Germany. I have just received a gift of Martin Luther shaped pasta from Germany (a case of Pastor Luther?!) and I have one of the Playmobil Luthers, which has been their fastest ever selling figure with over 34,000 sold in 72 hours! Because of all the different influences and origins on our history, we would find it difficult to pinpoint a date to have an anniversary. But Reformed we certainly are. I am challenging Yorkshire with the question – What is it about being reformed Christians that we have to offer in the body of Christ and to the world? I am thrilled at the answers I am offered – for if we have no answers then we might as well pack up and go home.

But I am also struggling with the idea of Reformation being a long-ago historical event. The Reformers stressed the importance of semper reformanda – that we are always in a state of being re-formed by the Holy Spirit. It is as though we are living in a reformatory – (we were still using that title for young offenders’ prison when I was a probation officer!) For us it is the school of the Holy Spirit, reforming us, and His Church to be effective witnesses in the world. If Luther played an important part in teaching us this, that’s worth celebrating.

Kevin Watson


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