Still Reforming....

28 Jan 2017

 

This year, just in case you've missed it, is the 500 Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. 

 

And even as I write that sentence, the historian in me is wanting to qualify it...but I won't. except to say that of course it is much more complex.

 

But something distinctive, important and world(at least our bit of it)-changing started in 1517.

 

We are part of a group of churches that are marking this through the year; various events and exhibitions are happening around the churches in central London that are particularly identified with the reformation. We have had exhibitions over the last couple of weeks about baptism, about the politics of water, and this week, a display of art associated with water, picking p a whole variety of themes. It has been a wonderful display, and we are very grateful to those who have made their work available this way.

 

An the title of the whole thing? Still Reforming.

 

Of course, a good Lutheran idea of semper reformanda - always being reformed. 

 

A good idea that we can sometimes forget about; not that I believe that we should be generating or looking for more divisions in the church,along doctrinal, practice or any other lines. 

 

But the recognition that the church - our own congregation, or the Church as a whole is not perfect, complete, or indeed, the finished article really matters. The reminder that we are penultimate not ultimate helps us to keep our feet on the ground; we are not yet all that God is going to do with us.

 

And this is a deeply comforting position. For there are failings, muddles, weaknesses - and some of them are our, my fault.

 

But if this is not the end, then I have room to forgive and be forgiven. 

 

I'm sure you have seen the cutesy poster that was around some years ago - the appealing kitten, all big eyes and soft fur, staring out of the picture, heard on one side, and how can you help but go awwww. And the motto? Be patient - God hasn't finished with me yet.

 

Semper reformanda.

 

We can be patient with ourselves and each other - not resigned, and not ignoring issues that must be addressed and injustice that must be challenged - but recognising that God is still at work, and that work is loving and hopeful. And so I go on hoping in the church, even while I know I let it down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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