The Roman formula is for the faithful to receive the bread and for the priest to drink the wine.
I sat in the church where Martin Luther preached some 2,000 sermons, imagining the impact his short life had on the world. Sitting in a pew, taking in the sights of The Town Church (Stadtkirche) of Wittenberg, I could almost hear his thunderous insights mixed with stories and applications fitting for his audience in this German town in the early 1500s.
There are many symbols and stories that circulate from that historic and church-erupting time. You may have a point that crystalizes the importance of the Reformation. I have many, but a painting in this Town Church where Luther preached caught my eye and became a riveting symbol summing up for me the rediscovery of the gospel, the great gift of the Reformation.
The church in Rome had been in trouble for over 100 years when Martin Luther pulled the trigger of the Reformation. The toxic brew of multiple issues inevitably boiled over. The papacy was corrupt. Scholarship was declining. Mysticism reared its many heads. New worlds were being discovered. German princes were restless, wanting to manage their own turf. And then a new mind called into question the Church’s control.
In the middle of this political, social, and religious upheaval, Johannes Gutenberg came up with a world-altering invention: a moveable type printing press. Now ideas could be quickly printed and dispersed for people to read and debate.
Luther was not the first to try to reform this corrupt and self-invested Roman church, increasingly under the control of one man. Many had attempted reform a century earlier, such as the Albigenses and the Waldenses. Leaders were killed: John Huss and Girolamo Savonarola were burned at the stake and, while John Wycliffe died of a stroke, decades later the …