How is that after twelve years of Christian education, thirteen if you want to count kindergarten, I managed to never remember hearing anything about this historical holiday? Oh, we dressed up at school in costumes based on different themes provided by the school or teacher, and although often we came as historical figures( I was Betsy Ross one year and my brother was Ben Franklin), I didn't ever grasp the vast significance of the date until just a few years ago, I'm sorry to say.
What changed? Frankly I believe it was my understanding of Calvinism and its place in history that brought me to an understanding of the need for church history.
Now as a mother preparing to home educate our son, I am looking for curriculum that will teach the whole counsel of history, not just the stories of Columbus and the Pilgrims. I'm also wondering if the authors of the curriculum wrote with untaught parents and teachers in mind. In discussing this with a friend who homeschools her two boys, I noted that I would like to study the material myself and learn what I missed. She agreed and said that sometimes she tells her boys, "Just hang on a second, this is really interesting" as she sits with them and reads the books.
It was two years ago this month that I learned that October 31 was the same date as Luther's posting on the door in Germany. What rock had I been under?
Did all other Christians know this and just assumed I did too? Instead of creating an alternative celebration to Halloween, here I had a real and historical reason to celebrate the day. God had taken a German monk, convicted him of his sin, saved him and fitted him with the boldness to protest against the catholic church's practices and doctrines. What a great day to remember! God was reviving His church and it would never be the same.
Learning this bit of history opened the door for me to understand what a staggering amount of information was missing from my life. Yes, I knew the redemption story, and the book of Acts, but what happened after Paul and Peter and James? Who did God raise up next to carry on His work? Someone must know. And as my husband and I began to read new authors and new titles(some of them quite old actually), the world as seen from God's perspective was unveiled. The history of the world was not worldly, it was heavenly. I had spent all my years of education wrongly compartmentalizing the various subjects: American history, Italian artists, Roman Catholic saints, English monarchies, German philosphers, European scientists and Middle East conflicts, etc. But as I began to realize they all fell under the heading: The Works of Jesus Christ. What a relief to know that I could study "secular" history and be adding to my "biblical" world view! There was no shame in reading a non-Christian history book because there was no such thing as non-Christian history. My heavenly Father was the orchestrator and hero of every story. Now the task fell to finding authors and books that understood that great truth.
Our bookshelves at home have undergone a metamorphosis. We are now searching and reading books that match our understanding of history. And since I love children's literature complete with illustrations, I am delighted to find so many wonderful editions to choose from. Here's one that suits the day.
I pulled this book off the shelf to read yesterday and found it thoroughly engaging. One of the new things I learned about Martin Luther is that he is credited with inventing the idea of the parsonage. Not surprisingly, his home was always abuzz with students and visitors, so much so that his dinner conversation was actually eventually written down into a book called Luther's Table Talk.
So here is some dinner conversation for tonight's Reformation meal, what happened to history? How did it fall out of favor with so much of the church? And of course, what can we do to exchange our ignorance for enlightenment? The Wittenburg door needs new posters, written by the Spirit of the living God on tablets of human hearts(2Cor. 3:3).
Not to get repetitive but head to Tim Challies blog to find other posts celebrating the Reformation.