Not for Sale

Grace Changes Everything is the theme for our annual Mount Olivet September Stewardship emphasis. It is the first official “posting” of a year-long observance of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, a movement prompted by Dr. Martin Luther posting the 95 Theses on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg.

At the time of Luther, and reappearing in contemporary misrepresentations of God’s gracious economy, forgiveness of sin and salvation were/are sold for a price. In order to secure relief from the penalty of sin and release from purgatory, the Roman nuncio, John Tetzel, cleverly advertised, “When a coin into the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” Even today, rather than claim the amazing, unmerited grace of God, common sense and fear direct “paying our dues to God, you know, to cover my bases.” Even today, timid souls are easily tormented, and institutional goals may be achieved through wielding fear, guilt, and shame. Effective? Yes! 

Nein!  Not so, countered Luther. Drawing counsel and courage from the Word of God, Luther discovered, “there is a kingdom of grace that is mightier in us and over us than all wrath, sin, and evil.” God’s grace is a gift that is freely given to us. We don’t earn a thing when it comes to God’s love. We only try to live in response to the gift. That’s it. Grace changes everything … including how much and, more importantly, why we give back to God.
So, beloved Mount Olivet members, in a spirit of praise and gratitude, let each of us prayerfully prepare our 2017 pledges and giving plans providing for our Lord’s church, Mount Olivet, in joyful generosity. Let us be thinking with Luther: “I live in grace. Therefore my whole life serves God.”

See you in church and at Stewardship dinners in September! Come and learn more about the transformative power of Grace!

Pastor Cornils