I learned a bit of trivia today. This passage from Revelation was the passage preached on at the funeral of Martin Luther in 1546 (one for a particularly scholarly pub quiz!). This year has seen the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation which has been marked in several ways around the world.
Martin Luther was reacting to the sale of “indulgences” or “tickets to heaven” available only to the rich. Luther countered this practice with justification by grace. A grace that is available to all, irrespective of where they come from, how much they earn, their gender, their sexuality and so on.
We live in a world which is obsessed with difference. Where policies in some countries are about further dividing society based on worldly labels and denying groups of people their rights. This passage in Revelation reminds us that our mission is to spread the Good News to all nations and people. This message does not distinguish by race, age etc, it is for all. Salvation, peace and forgiveness are available to all because of the cross of Christ.
At Luther’s funeral, Pastor Johnannes Bugenhagen likened Luther to one of the angels; a messenger of Good News and grace. Luther reminded us that the Gospel remains unchanged, its effects are eternal. 500 years on from Martin Luther we are today’s angels and messengers of hope.
As we reflect on this passage may we consider those we are called to take the message of Good News to. Maybe we need to step out of our comfort zone in order to take it to people we would not normally identify with. It is an inclusive gospel, an invitation open to all and without prejudice. We are not asked to decide who should be saved but simply to take the invitation to all.
Father God, challenge us in our relationships, to see beyond the obvious, to see what You see and value. In our encounters with one another may we share something of the inclusivity of Your Gospel.
by Tracey Hume
South West Tyneside Circuit