Tag Archives: reformation

Looking for Grace in a Graceless World

Because this year marks the 500th anniversary of the event that began the Reformation, there have been a lot of articles about Luther, especially as Reformation Day drew near. The best one that I came across was entitled Suche nach der Gnade in einer gnadenlosen Welt by Matthias Drobinski, which appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on October 31. What follows is my translation, posted with the kind permission of the Süddeutsche.

Looking for Grace in a Graceless World
by Matthias Drobinski (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, October 31, 2017; trans. Kyle Rader)

The theologian and poet Christian Lehnert tells how he once preached about the love and nearness of a gracious God in an East German village, and afterward, an old Polish woman intercepted him and asked, “You prayed for God’s nearness? Do you know what you’re asking for?” She then explained how, in 1939, she hid in a ditch in a field and prayed for her life as the German tanks came. Then she felt God’s nearness and lay hidden in the earth’s arms. The tanks rolled on by. But a few days later, everyone who lived in the next farmhouse over was found dead, shot, with their tongues nailed to the kitchen table. The one was saved, the others were murdered.

Is that God’s nearness and grace? Continue reading

Halloween, Reformation Day, and All Saints

I love Halloween. I also love Reformation Day (which I realize puts me at odds with some fellow Episcopalians). Most of all, I love All Saints Day (and I like the aesthetics of All Souls/Día de los Muertos, though I find it theologically problematic). It has always felt right to me that these three celebrations go together, jack-o-lanterns and all. My All Saints post from a few years ago is still one of the better things I’ve written, where I talked about the healing bond holding us together with all those we love, as well as those we can’t imagine loving yet, living or dead. That’s the All Saints aspect of the whole thing.

But I also like the Halloween aspect.

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