Reforming Power

This Sunday might be Halloween, but more importantly for Presbyterians, it’s the 504th anniversary of the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. He wasn’t the first “protestant.” Reformers had objected to what they had considered abuses of power by the Roman Catholic Church throughout Europe for several hundred years. But Martin Luther’s objections, the church’s excesses, and the Gutenberg printing press ignited a revolution in government and church that is still reverberating throughout the world. It was reforming power – and still asks us to reform power.

The gospel lectionary reading of Mark 12:28-34 takes us into a study of what true power is, and how we might engage in reforming power so that it stays true to its source – namely, God, and no other. Jesus and the scribe engage in a respectful exchange in the middle of two chapters where other leaders are clearly trying to cancel Jesus. Instead of being one more power struggle with someone protecting their position of power, this scribe is looking to see if Jesus will meet him where the true power source is. What a refreshing change that must have been for Jesus!

Today’s “polarization” issues in our country and world are nothing more than the same age-old power struggles that human beings have always engaged in. Many of us feel as if our very existence is threatened unless we are in power. Mark’s gospel takes on the constant struggle we have for and against power, and guess what? Delivers the Good News — GOSPEL — to set the captives free. Which is a great theme for Reformation Sunday and those who felt that lay people should have a voice in the church, not just the clerical hierarchy.

Join us in person or online for a study of how power to the people may have to start with God.