Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Reformation Sunday)
(Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 25)
United Church of Christ Higher Education Sunday
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
The Church in Rome was right: the Protestant Reformation would lead inevitably to the splintering of Christendom into a thousand denominations. For all their differences, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli each strove mightily, though unsuccessfully, to prevent it from happening. Each one of them sought to silence those Protestants who dissented from his new orthodoxy. And they did not hesitate to mobilize the force of government to suppress what they considered to be the heresies committed by people they labeled "radicals."
Still, divisions—schisms—frequently occurred. How could it have been otherwise once each Christian was allowed to interpret scripture alone?
It did not occur to the Reformers that dissent and diversity could fortify the faith of the community, or that separating church and state might even strengthen religious institutions.
For much of American history, Christian churches sponsored academies and colleges in order to propagate and protect their particular beliefs and practices. And even today, many churches refuse to be inclusive of various readings of the Bible.
But in the United Church of Christ we have carried the Reformation insight to its logical conclusion: no human authority can overrule any believer's reading of scripture. And our academies and colleges, far from imposing one viewpoint, are inclusive of many perspectives.
We celebrate our unity in diversity, especially on this Reformation anniversary, which happens to correspond with Higher Education Sunday.
||Job 42:1-6, 10-17
||Psalm 34:1-8 [19-22]