VANDALIA, Ohio – Pastor Kurt Lammi from St Paul Lutheran Church on Dog Leg Road in Butler Township recently posted a meme he made of Martin Luther to the St. Paul Facebook page. In less than five days, the meme received over 400 reactions, was shared over 5,000 times, and reached approximately 600,000 people worldwide. The meme featured a famous painting of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany with some onlookers watching what he’s doing. The caption said, “Stop coming up and saying, ‘Trick or treat.’ I said I have ’95 Theses’ not ’95 Reese’s.’”
The meme played on the fact that it was on Halloween Day, October 31, 1517, that Luther published his famous 95 Theses. The document denounced the sale of indulgences – or pardon for sins – from the Roman Catholic Church. The story goes that Luther, a former Augustine monk turned professor of theology at Wittenberg University in Wittenberg, Germany, nailed them to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany because the door often acted as a community bulletin board. He wrote them to declare that God’s love and forgiveness could not be bought. This document then launched the Protestant Reformation where the followers of Luther and other reformers challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pastor Lammi’s meme had perfect timing, not only for the celebration of Reformation Day this year but also the start of a year-long celebration for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Pastor Lammi said, “I am amazed at how fast this little joke is spreading. I know that’s how memes work, but it’s still incredible. I’m glad that people got a little laugh, and I hope the meme also got them thinking about the Reformation and what Luther did.”
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the larger church body of which St Paul is a part, is focusing on some big events to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year in 2017. A special website www.elca.org/500 has been launched to focus on this anniversary. For example, this week, in Lund, Sweden, Lutherans and Catholics from around the world are coming together for a Common Prayer service lead by Pope Francis and Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan, the president of the Lutheran World Federation.1 “The relationship between Lutherans and Catholics is much better today than it was 500 years ago,” Pastor Lammi said. “Reformation Day is not Lutheran Pride Day. Rather, it’s a day to celebrate how God is always reforming the church. Five-hundred years ago it was through Martin Luther. Today, it is through new partnerships and relationships within the larger church. It’s an exciting time for the church.”
Reach St. Paul Lutheran Church at 890-1791.