Reformation Sunday

John 8:31-36

“He wasn’t just whistling Dixie”

The 1969 moon landing did not take place but was put together in a film studio as part of the cold war propaganda. Lee Harvey-Oswald did not act alone and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was about gaining access to Iraq oil.

Ah, who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?

I saw a good one about twenty five years ago where this reporter after having investigated the term being thrown at the time around called “The new world order” found out that there was a grand global design in place, and that in regards to Australia, we would basically become like a giant resource pit where after being mined, the resources then would be sent to developing countries, manufactured into goods and then we would buy them back and that this would obviously dramatically effect our production lines was considered collateral damage.

Bruce Springsteen once sang blind faith in your government will get you killed. As Lutherans we believe that our leadership are provided by God for our benefit. I do not argue that at all, but that does not mean that we should not question their actions because they are actually human like the rest of us, and like the rest of us-fallible. When we look at some of the world’s past historic events, it doesn’t surprise that people are led to think of conspiracies. Let’s start the ball rolling by quoting lyrics from Kris Kristopherson:

“There was a man named Mahatma Ghandi

He would not bow down, he would not fight

He knew the deal was down and dirty

And nothing wrong could make it right away


But he knew his duty, and the price he had to pay

Just another holy man who tried to make a stand



Another man from Atlanta, Georgia

By the name of Martin Luther King

He shook the land like rolling thunder

And made the bells of freedom ring today


With a dream of beauty that they could not burn away

Just another holy man who dared to be a friend


The only son of God Almighty

The holy one called Jesus Christ

Healed the lame and fed the hungry


And for his love they took his life away


On the road to glory where the story never ends

Just the holy son of man we’ll never understand


If you are going to take on the establishment, whether it is at your work place or at the very top-be prepared for the consequences. People don’t like change, or the truth when it comes at their cost-whether it is financially or status. Being a whistle-blower is not all it’s cracked up to be if you want to just sit back and smell the roses. But there are those people that put it all on the line, not for their own prestige, but because it’s the right thing to do, you could say it’s what they have been called to do-no matter what the cost.

With my brother, I once went to the funeral of a quirky and fallible lady. She hadn’t been “perfect” in perfects sense whatever that is, but she had touched many, many people and after the crowd had dispersed, looking down at her last resting place my brother commented that “this is holy ground”. Martin Luther was a whistle-blower, quirky, fallible and not perfect, but he desired for all to hear the truth, to bring to light the truth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A rule of warfare whether in victory or defeat, is to have pre-planned an exit strategy. Wise thinking I would suggest even in our daily lives. Whether to invest in this company or that, to start a business, to change jobs or to take out a loan to purchase a house, it will help greatly to think of “what then” if things turn out pear shaped, or vice versa if things exceed beyond belief of how to remain true to your beliefs and integrity instead of being swallowed up with pride. But then there are people and occasions where there is no such luxury of any exit plan being available. William Wilberforce who lobbied in government against slavery, Nelson Mandela against apartheid, that guy that stood before those army tanks in Tiananmen Square and of course Martin Luther and his band of merry men.

Today is our reformation service and give me half a chance I would just stand here quoting Martin Luther all morning. But I won’t because Martin Luther was never about Martin Luther. So I’ll only give you two of his quotes that display what he was about. The first that shows what he was not about, being not about himself

“I did nothing, I could have just sat here drinking Wittenberg beer with my friend Melanchthon and God would have got someone else to do it”.

And a small quote of ten words that encompasses the whole of the truth in which he risked his life for:

“Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense and understanding”.

There is the truth. The fight against what is dished up to us as logic. Which I might add is logical you our human way of thinking. Being that to be accepted by God we need to earn His favour. Being that with our long lists of failures we’ve blown it. Those two suggestions that are placed before us continually are certainly reasonable; they make sense and are easy to understand. Those lies make much more human sense than the truth. The truth that a man on a cross, a thief who he said himself was “getting what he deserved” yet after seemingly simply to “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” is told by Jesus himself that “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.

There was a time in the reformation that the churches were trashed in the belief that things like the cross on our alter were being looked on like idols and Lutheran’s have been at times accused of viewing Luther like a God.There is but one God, one Saviour and one truth: “That in faith alone are we saved”. These other things, this wooden cross, Luther, your good works are but gifts that God gives us and others to point to that truth. Luther was prepared to give his life for the truth, but he didn’t have to. God was prepared to give His only Son Jesus for the truth, and he did. Jesus was prepared to lie down his blameless life for the truth, and he did.

The truth that has set us free. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers wrote of when he understood the truth that set him free:

“Then, O Then, I heard a voice which said, ‘There is one, Christ Jesus that spoke to my condition. And when I heard it my heart did leap for joy, and then the Lord did gently lead me along and did let me see His love, which was endless and eternal and surpasseth all the knowledge that men have in the natural state or can get by history or books’”.

We have received that truth at a great cost, the life of our Lord and Saviour who asks that in regard to salvation we trample under foot all human reason, sense and understanding and just believe in him, and why he came: To hear his truths, so, let us do so

“Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be betrayed, and delivered into the hands of men: and they shall kill him; and the third day after that he is killed, he shall be raised again.


It is finished.


I am the door: by me if any person enter in, they shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.


I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Amen.


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