By PISAI GUMAR
LUTHERAN church followers nationwide and around the world will observe 500 years of Reformation Day which falls on Tuesday, Oct 31, this year. Around the country, celebrations begin today and will culminate on the day.
In Lae, Calvary Lutheran Church began preparations this week with a cleanathon around the Chinatown area where it is based. Parish Ps. Rev, Ba’afekec Bamiringnuc and his congregation members have also constructed an insignia of Luther Rose, also called Luther Seal, on the church grounds.
Today will see the dedication of the Seal followed by studies on the reformation and a communal meal. Saturday will see a host of daylong celebrations.
On Sunday, a combined church service will take place at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium with important guests to include Catholic Cardinal Sir John Ribat and Governor General Sir Bob Dadae.
“On Tuesday Oct 31, I want families to meditate in respective homes and reflect over the last 500th years and focus on what kind of pathway should we set as a church in unity today for the generations, yet to come,” Bamiringnuc said.
“I thank our Almighty God that in our generation, we will observe this 500th years of Reformation Day that will never come again; it is fitting to set up a monument as the sign of remembrance during our time at this moment for our future generation to see,” he said.
Lae businesses such as Barlow Industry, Lao Investment and Niugini Pilots Ltd shared their faith with the church as the body of Jesus Christ by contributing generously the wheel barrows, cements, gravels and paints to construct the Luther’s Seal.
The worldwide theme this year is, Liberated by God’s Grace.
For the congregations in Lae, there are four sub-themes – Bible, Christ, grace and faith only.
In Tok Pisin language, the pledge reads, ‘Long strong bilong Baibel tasol, Kraist tasol, Marimari tasol na Bilip tasol, yumi kamap fri man long banis bilong Satan, sin na dai.’ (It is only by the power of the Holy Bible, Christ, grace and faith alone that we are liberated from the bondage of Satan, sin and death).
Church politics and corruption were the two fundamental reasons Martin Luther became disillusioned with the Catholic Church and published his 95 propositions against it.
Luther launched the protestant reformation, a historic religious revolution in 1517.
Based on the four pillars in Bible, Christ, grace and faith, after Luther published his 95 theses, then summarized them into a simplest crest known as Luther’s Rose or Luther’s Seal with each color representing meanings.
The Luther seal from a church in Cobstadt, Thuringen, Germany, comprises the black cross in a red heart standing in a white rose emblazon in a sky-blue field encircle by a golden ring.
In July 8, 1530, Luther wrote a letter to Lazarus Spengler, and interpreted his seal as;
Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark. I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology.
A black cross in a red heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. “For one who believes from the heart will be justified”. (Romans 10:10)
Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. “The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17) but by faith in the crucified”.
Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives. (John 14:27).
That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels. (cf. Mathew 28:3; John 20:12).
Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed.
And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal.
This is my compendium theologiae (summary of theology). I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation.
May Christ, our beloveth Lord, be with your spirit until life hereafter. Amen.
By PISAI GUMAR