The Reformation message today

Bedford-Strohm preaches on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Wittenberg

The beginning of the Reformation was an “act of liberation”, said Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses was liberating for Luther personally, for the church and for the world, Bedford-Strohm declared at the festive service in Wittenberg’s Castle Church. He went on to say:

“And now we are sitting here, 500 years later, in a country that is likewise wrestling with itself. A country that has never been so blessed.  A country that has shown an impressive amount of empathy. A country that has made many efforts, including moral efforts. And, at the same time, a country in which some people feel morally overtaxed. A country in which people are afraid of losing their familiar world, their sense of safety. A country where people long to feel at home. A country that, for all those reasons, so urgently needs the Reformation message of justification by faith alone!”

In his sermon on a text from Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Rm 8:26), Bedford-Strohm thanked Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chair of the German Bishops‘ Conference, for courage and brotherly support in the Reformation Year. He added:

“And on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation I call, from Wittenberg, to the Pope in Rome:  Pope Francis, brother in Christ, we give heartfelt thanks to God for your witness of love and mercy, which for us Protestants also means witnessing to Christ. We thank you for your signs of reconciliation among the churches. And whenever you come here to Wittenberg we will warmly welcome you, half a millennium after Luther burnt the papal bull of excommunication! We want to talk with Christ and then go forward courageously. We trust that the Spirit will help us in our weakness!”

Present at the service in Castle Church were Germany‘s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bundestag Speaker Wolfgang Schäuble, along with numerous guests from society, politics and the international ecumenical movement.

Hannover, 31 October 2017

Pressestelle der EKD
Carsten Splitt

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