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Bishop Michael Rinehart

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Ecumenical Service

January 23, 2020

Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston

I’m grateful for the planning and leadership of Christ the King Pastor Karin Liebster.

The week of prayer for Christian Unity falls every January 18-25. Every year Christians in Houston and around the world gather to pray for the unity of the church, remembering Jesus’ prayer that his church might be one.

The theme for the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, is taken from Acts 28:2 “They showed us unusual kindness.” Could it be that showing kindness to strangers is the highest moral good? Jesus said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? … Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

In Acts 28, Paul and his companions are shipwrecked and shown unusual kindness. Every year on February 10 Christians in Malta celebrate the Feast of the Shipwreck of St Paul, marking and giving thanks for the arrival of Christian faith on these islands.

Ships are an important sign in the church from Noah, to Jesus’ disciples. St. Gregory the Great (540-604) wrote that the Church is a ship in which God takes us safely through life from one shore, birth, to the other, death.

MLK Day Parade 2020

It was a crisp and sunny 39° morning when I woke up, but by the time the parade was over it was 56°. 50 folks from Christ the King Houston, Faith Bellaire and Covenant Houston gathered to celebrate Martin Luther King’s contribution to civil rights in this country. 

Although President Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day into law in 1983, Houston celebrated its first MLK Day Parade in 1978, 42 years ago. That year, MLKms father addressed the Houston community and commissioned the event. This year Houston native George Foreman was the Grand Marshall.

The last two years we marched in the parade held in Midtown. That parade is 26 years old. This year we marched in the “original” MLK parade downtown, 42 years old. Whichever parade, we celebrate King standing up, Rosa Parks sitting down, and end to segregation and whites-only drinking fountains, bathrooms and lunch counters. The spirit from parade participants and spectators was joyful and loving.

https://abc13.com/community-events/george-foreman-leads-mlk-parade-in-downtown-houston-/5862943/

Good Shepherd in Marrero, Louisiana

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marrero is on New Orleans’ “West Bank.” The West Bank is actually south of New Orleans, and east, and west. I know, things get confusing in the Crescent City. Anything on the other side of the Mississippi is “west.” 🙂

This congregation, like Gethsemane Chalmette and Bethlehem New Orleans, are former LCMS congregations. They still enjoy a good relationship with Trinity LCMS in Algiers and even share a school.

The school at Good Shepherd, Concordia Lutheran School has 140 students, but they have capacity for 240. Prior to Katrina they had 233. Enrollment is growing. With registrations rolling in, the closure of some other schools and some programs for low-income students, they believe they will hit 200 in the fall.

Prior to worship, I dropped in on 7am mass at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Westwego, also on the West Bank, about five minutes from Good Shepherd. Father Buddy Noel has become a friend. He serves Our Lady, and also Holy Guardian Angels in Bridge City, LA, a short ten minutes away. He also serves as the Archbishop’s Ecumenical Representative. After mass we had coffee in the parsonage and talked all things ecumenical in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

When I arrived at a good Shepherd, they were setting up for worship. Pastor Bob Gnuse and President Gil Avery walked me through the day with outstanding hospitality. Bob heads up the religion department at Loyola. Below, Venetia Bryant-Meekins sets up for communion and musicians warm up.

After worship we had a huge Cajun spread with gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, French bread, king cake, pralines and more. Everything was homemade, including the king cake and pralines. Mercy. I’m going to need a more aggressive exercise regimen. I was too busy eating to take photos, but I did get this gem. Mark asked me if I wanted a little hot sauce. Apparently it packs a punch. 🙂

The Calling of the Disciples

Listen to the Podcast for Sunday, January 26, 2020 – Epiphany 3A

He Qi

Epiphany 3A – January 26, 2020

Isaiah 9:1-4 – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.

Psalm 27:1, 4-9 – The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

1 Corinthians 1:10-18 – Let there be no divisions among you… For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-23 – Matthew’s version of the call of the disciples. Light shines on those in darkness: Jesus preaches ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,’ teaches ‘the good news of the kingdom,” and ministers, healing every disease and sickness.


The Time After Epiphany

In last week’s gospel text, John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God. This coming week we have the call of the disciples. Then we launch into the Beatitudes, the first part of the Sermon on the Mount.

There is a logical progression to the season of Epiphany. First, Jesus’ ministry begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. Then he is driven into the wilderness to be tempted. We will not read this text until the first Sunday in Lent. Then Jesus comes out of the wilderness, chooses his disciples and begins his preaching ministry.

In Matthew’s Gospel there are five great sermons. Each sermon is preceded by a narrative, and followed  with the words, “When Jesus finished saying these things…” (Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς λόγους τούτους…), as B. W. Bacon pointed out many years ago. You can read more about the structure of Matthew here: https://bishopmike.com/lectionary-a/introduction-to-matthews-gospel/

Matthew 1 is an introduction. Matthew 2-4 is the first Narrative. Matthew 5-7 is the first sermon: the Sermon on the Mount.

The First Part of The Sermon on the Mount in 2020

To think ahead a bit, here is how the Sermon on the Mount will play out starting February 2, 2020.

February 2 – Mt. 5:1-12. Epiphany 4A. Opening of the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes.

February 9 – Mt. 5:13-20. Epiphany 5A. Salt and Light. Your righteousness must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

February 16 – Mt. 5:21-37. Epiphany 6A. The 1st 4 of the 6 Antitheses, “But I say to you…” Anger. Adultery. Divorce. Oaths.

February 23– Matthew 5:38-48. Epiphany 7A. The 5th and 6th of the 6 Antitheses. Retaliation. Enemies. (Or Transfiguration Sunday.)

February 23 you may use the Epiphany 7A texts, or you may choose to go with the Transfiguration Sunday texts.  On February 26, 2020, Ash Wednesday ushers us into an early Lent. (For those who want to take a look into Lent, I put Lent-at-a-glance at the bottom of this post.)

So buckle up. This week we have the call of the disciples. Then we are in the Sermon on the Mount for the rest of the Epiphany all the way up to March.

The Call of the Disciples

Here’s our text, Matthew 4:12-23: 

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 

18As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

Matthew chapter two closed with Mary, Jospeh and Jesus in Galilee. In chapter 3, Jesus is baptized by John, down south in Judea. Then he is led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan. Now our text says Jesus hears that John has been arrested, so, after his baptism in Judea and his 40 days in the wilderness, he comes to Galilee, where he begins to assemble a team.

At a continuing education event for bishops a few years ago, I was introduced to a reflective method of looking at Scripture in a group. Apparently this is familiar to some of you in youth ministry, but it was new to me. It is called “I notice. I wonder.” What do you notice about this text? What do you wonder?

The presenter was Dr. Shauna K. Hannan, Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC. The event was on ministry with the “Nones,” those who select “no religious preference,” on surveys. Most presenters agreed that the largest group of “Nones” was in the 18–35 range. The folks in the age group feel that if church isn’t about relationships, it’s probably not worth the time of day. I could not agree more: our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. I think Jesus may have said something to that effect as well.

Leonard Sweet reminds us that millennials and many other folks in this postmodern age are looking for worship to be EPIC: experiential, participatory, image-driven and conversational. Rich Mellheim once posted some densely-packed ideas about this. I’ll post them below. Ask yourself: Are we perpetuating what was, or are we building a community of Christ-followers for this new generation? Are our congregations about butts in pews, or making disciples?

What if the sermon provided not simply the content of the biblical narrative as a source for religious identity, either in the ‘strict’ prescriptive form of conservative preaching or in the ‘lenient’ suggestive form of mainline preaching, but also promoted lively interaction with that story? To put it another way, is there room in our homiletical imagination for an interactive sermon?” ~ David Lose, Preaching at the Crossroads: How the World—and Our Preaching—Is Changing

With this in mind, consider reading a text like this in an adult class, in a small group or even in a sermon (if there aren’t a bazillion people in that particular service), and asking them to interrupt and comment as you read with, “I wonder…” Or “I notice.” Let them interact with the text. Resist the need to argue or disagree, so people aren’t afraid to participate. See what happens.

What do you wonder or notice about this text? Why not write your wonderings and observations this week? My post today will simply be a series of questions. You could use these simply to prepare. Or you could actually ask some of these questions in a small congregation, inviting responses. Or (and I have done this) have an entire sermon of just questions. You should try this some time. If you ask good questions, the tempo increases, reaches an apex, and then settles on reflective questions, it can really work. It also positions you as the question-raiser, rather than always the question-answerer.

Verse 12

  • I notice that John is arrested fairly early in Matthew’s Gospel. This drives Jesus to Galilee where his ministry begins.
  • I wonder if John’s arrest was the spark that set Jesus’ ministry on fire.
  • I notice Jesus went all the way down to Judea to be baptized by John.
  • I notice he went all the way back up to Galilee after John was arrested.

Verse 13

  • I notice it says “he left Nazareth.” So when he returned to Galilee, at first he went back to Nazareth.
  • I wonder why Jesus chose to begin his ministry in Capernaum, rather than starting in his hometown of Nazareth.

Verses 14-16

  • I notice Matthew interprets Jesus’ start in Capernaum in light of Isaiah’s prophecy.
  • I notice that Matthew edits Isaiah 9:1–2 and then reinterprets it.

Verse 17

  • I notice that Jesus’ message is exactly the same as John’s (Mt. 3:2): “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Verse 18

  • I notice Jesus walks by the sea. I like to walk by the sea as well.
  • I wonder if Peter and Andrew enjoyed working together as brothers.
  • I wonder if they made a decent living, or if Roman and Temple taxes kept them in poverty.
  • I wonder if they actually enjoyed being fisherman, or if they were looking for a way out.
  • I wonder if Jesus went looking for them, or if he happened upon them.

Verse 19

  • Since they were casting a net into the sea (v. 18), I wonder how far from the shore they were, and if Jesus had to yell from the shore, so they could hear him.
  • I wonder if they understood the implications of Jesus’ invitation to “follow me.”
  • I wonder what this meant for them economically, and for their families.
  • I wonder how their spouses and families reacted when Peter and Andrew told them they were going to abandon the family business and follow a rabbi around the countryside on his itinerant preaching and healing ministry.
  • I wonder how Andrew and Peter interpreted Jesus’ invitation to “fish for people.”
  • I wonder how people hear the phrase, “fish for people” today.
  • How might the church heed Jesus’ call to fish for people in a way that does not objectify them or manipulate them?

Verse 20

  • I wonder why they left their nets “immediately.”
  • I wonder if this was easy for them to do.

Verse 21

  • I wonder if James and John Zebedee knew Peter and Andrew as colleagues, fellow fishermen on the sea of Galilee, working close enough together that Jesus could bump into them on his walk.
  • I wonder if these events happened on the same walk and on the same day, or whether Matthew has condensed the story to make it flow more easily.
  • I wonder if Matthew intends any significance to the phrase, “mending their nets.”
  • I notice it says “and he called them.” Call language is present from the very beginning of Matthew’s Gospel.

Verse 22

  • I notice they also left the boat “immediately.”
  • Since father Zebedee is in the boat, I wonder how he felt being abandoned by his two sons who went off to follow this rabbi.
  • I wonder if the families of these fishermen harbored hostile feelings towards Jesus, for stealing their fathers, brothers, breadwinners.
  • I wonder if, when Jesus came around, they expressed anger toward him, or whether they accepted and embraced what was happening.

Verse 23

  • I notice that Jesus is teaching in synagogues.
  • I notice that at least at this point in Matthew, the good news is not the life and death/ resurrection of Jesus here, but rather the “good news of the kingdom,” which I take to be the content of Jesus proclamation as in verse 17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
  • I wonder how people heard this preaching in their day and context. What would it have meant to them to hear that the kingdom of heaven has come near?
  • I wonder why Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” 32 times, which is found nowhere else in Scripture, when in so many other ways he is tracking Isaiah’s language, and when the other Gospel writers use “kingdom of God.”
  • I notice that the heart of Jesus’ ministry in this verse is three verbs: preaching, teaching and healing.
  • I wonder what it would be like to have a church that focused its ministry on these three things: preaching, teaching and healing.

Questions for discussion

  1. Share
    • How did you decide to do what you’re now doing? How did you discern?
    • Has anyone ever “called” you to do something?
    • Have you ever sensed God calling you to do something? What was that like?
  1. Study
    • Read through Matthew 2:12-23 verse by verse inviting people to respond to each verse using phrases beginning with “I wonder…” and “I notice.”
    • Read Isaiah 9:1-2 and compare it to Matthew 4:15-16. How closely does Matthew track Isaiah?
    • Read Matthew 3:2 and 4:17. How does John’s message differ from Jesus message?
    • Get a map and locate the wilderness of Judea, imagining where Jesus may have been baptized by John. Now locate Galilee, Nazareth and Capernaum. How far was Jesus traveling? What do you suppose drew him to travel all the way down to Judea for John’s baptism? How far is it? How long might that take on foot? Why do you suppose he returned to Galilee?
    • Why do you suppose Peter, Andrew, James and John responded so quickly (“immediately”) to Jesus’ invitation to follow him on his itinerant ministry and to fish for people?
    • How do you think their families felt about it?
    • Read verse 23. What three verbs make up the content of Jesus’ ministry? How does that different from your church’s ministry?
  1. Apply
    • How might we be more open to hearing God’s call in our lives?
    • To what new ministry might God be calling you now?
    • To what new ministry might God be calling your church?
    • What sacrifices might need to be made?

How is your congregation preaching and teaching the good news of the kingdom, and bringing healing to your community?


Lent A at-a-glance</strong
Ash Wednesday: Matthew 6 – Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving
Lent 1: Matthew 4: The Temptation in the Wilderness
Lent 2: John 3 (Nicodemus) or Matthew 17
Lent 3: John 4 (Woman at the Well)
Lent 4: John 9 (Healing of the Man Born Blind)
Lent 5: John 11 (The Raising of Lazarus)
Palm/Passion Sunday: Matthew 21 and 26 or 27

Rich Mellheim’s 1/7/14 comment in the ELCA Clergy Facebook Group:

Start with Leonard Sweet’s EPIC (experiential, participatory, image-driven, conversational). Go to Bill Glasser’s “In a quality school, everyone is the teacher” and change it to “in the quality church, everyone is the preacher.” Add a little Quaker/George Fox inner life “truth can come to anyone.” Mix in Luther’s “The priesthood of all believers.” Create together with Ani Patel’s OPERA (overlap, precision, emotion, repetition, attention). Consider the attention span of the television era (7 1/2 seconds) versus the fact that people won’t wait 7 1/2 seconds for a download today. Mix in the multitasking grazing mentality of netizens vs the channel changing behavior of the television generation. Consider the fact that you never really pay attention to where you are going in a car unless you are driving. Consider the fact that females are born with 11% more brain tissue dedicated to speaking and listening than men, and males are born with 2 1/2 times more tissue dedicated to sex, action and aggression. (If you don’t turn what you’re doing into action, they’ll turn it into aggression). Consider the needs of the human brain for oxygen, glucose and BDNF (brain fertilizer) in order to pay attention… none of which you get when you’re sitting in a chair or pew. Consider the fact that most of the people in your church hold access to more information in their purse or pocket than 99.85% of the human race has had access to for 99.85% of human history. Add the old “they’ll never care how much you know until they know how much you care” to the mix. And remember “you gotta open the kid before you open the book.” 

Now, tell me, what does worship look like? Worship comes from the Old English woerth+scippe (the ship/vehicle that brings worth to God).

Now, tell me, what does liturgy look like? Liturgy is the work of the people. If you’re feeding them all the words, the images, the prayers, it’s not their work. Its yours. (My son doesn’t even like printed word on a powerpoint screen. “Why should I pray that prayer? It’s not my prayer.”)

Now, tell me, what does preaching look like? Is it a kerygma – proclamation? If so, is it only yours? Are you the only one qualified to proclaim? To tell a story? To tell what God has done? To interpret what the text means to every context of every person sitting in your pews? Is it apostellein? If so, are you the only one sent out? Is it evangelion? If so, are you the only one with a good message? Is it prophetes? If so, are you the only one through whom God can speak forth this week?

 If you are preaching a one-way story to people who are surrounded with hundreds, nay, thousands of stories every week, will your story be as compelling every single week as what they’re watching on Netflix and YouTube and HBO? Week after week after week, are you going to try to compete?

If it is only your story, you’re going to have to be better than anything out there. Nay, than everything out there.

If it is not only YOUR story, but also THEIR story, you will not need to compete. Netflix and YouTube and HBO can’t compete with their story. There’s nothing more real, more intimate, more personal, more interesting than their story…

And if you become the one who proclaims God’s story… and shows them how to connect their story with God’s story… and gives them the intentional place and sacred space to connect the two, speak forth (prophetes)  bring good news (euangellion) and get sent out (apostallein), you’ll be equipping, training, recruiting and motivating prophets, evangelists and apostles every week in every church.

Add FAITH5 (share, read, talk, pray, bless) and make it the expectation to connect your Sunday text with their highs and lows (context) “every night in every home” and you just might have a Sunday that spills over into Monday. And you may create a post-televison EPIC Sunday that gives them their new story for the week – a frame of reference and frame of reverence – that lives with them when they lie down and when they rise in the post-television world.

Reformation Trip 2020

June 5-14, 2020

martin_lutherErfurt_Augustinerkloster

 

 

 

 

Friday, June 5, 2020 – Travel!
Depart The U.S. from your city.

Saturday, June 6, 2020 – Leipzig
Arrive Leipzig. This event begins and ends in Leipzig. A bus will be available to whisk us to the Leipzig Marriott at 3:00 from the airport. If you arrive after that, it’s easy to grab a taxi or a train. We’ll do a brief walking tour of town before dinner. Breakfasts and Dinners are covered by the tour. Lunches will typically be on your own.

robert moore preaching

Sunday, June 7, 2020 – Leipzig
In the morning we will worship at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. J.S. Bach (1685-1750) served as music director of the city of Leipzig. He is buried at St. Thomas. We may also visit the Old City Hall and St. Nicolas Church, where the prayers were said leading up to the fall of the communist regime.

Monday, June 8, 2020 – Weimar
On Monday we will head out to the city of Weimar, home to the German Enlightenment, as well as Goethe and Schiller. In the afternoon we will visit Buchenwald Concentration Camp, one of the largest Nazi work camps in Germany. In the evening we will make it home to Leipzig for dinner.

wartburg_eisenach_570px

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 – Eisenach and the Wartburg Castle
Tuesday we will visit the Wartburg, the famous castle built in the Middle Ages, where Luther was hidden for 300 days, and where he translated the Bible into Ger

man. We will also have an opportunity to visit the Luther House (and Museum) where the teenaged Luther lived with the Cotta family from 1498 to 1501. We can’t miss the Bach House, a museum to the Lutheran musician and composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born in Eisenach. Check out this short, 40-second video on Eisenach: https://www.facebook.com/GermanyTravelDestination/videos/10100127023121761/

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 – Erfurt
On Wednesday we will move to a new hotel in Erfurt, the capital of the State of Thuringia, where Luther lived as an Augustinian friar from 1505 to 1511. After lunch, we will visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, a romanesque basilica where Martin Luther was ordained on April 3, 1507. Then we will get a more formal tour of at St. Augustine’s Monastery (Augustinerkloster). After a last afternoon rest, we will conclude the day with a festive dinner at Wirtshaus Christoffel. 

Thursday, June 11, 2020 – Erfurt
Thursday we will have some time to explore Erfurt, and do some shopping at the Krämerbrücke (Merchants’ Bridge). This is a day to sleep in, wander and catch your breath.

Friday, June 12, 2020 – Eisleben
Eisleben is a beautiful town in Saxony-Anhalt, where Luther was born, and coincidentally, the town where he died. We will visit the newly renovated St. Peter’s Church where Luther was baptized. We will visit both his birth house and the house where he died.

Saturday, June 13, 2020 – Wittenberg
Wittenberg, formally Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is where Luther lived, taught and posted the 95 Theses. There we can choose from several options: The Luther House (and Museum) is the Augustinian house where Luther lived, first as a monk in 1511, and later as a family man, until he died in 1546, for a total of 35 years. The Melanchthon House (and Museum) is where Luther’s friend and fellow Reformer Phillipp Melanchton lived. Martin Luther and Johannes Bugenhagen both preached at the City Church or Stadt- und Pfarrkirche St. Marien zu WittenbergAll Saints Church (commonly referred to as the Schlosskirche, or Castle Church), is where the 95 Theses were posted.

Thomaskirche_leipzig_bach

Sunday, June 14, 2020 – Leipzig
The tour ends in Leipzig the following morning when you arise. Most of us will worship at St. Thomas Church and then head out. You are free to extend your stay or travel home. We can assist you setting up arrangements or getting you to the Leipzig airport.

Weather
The temperatures in early June can alternate between cool and hot. Rain and snow are always possible. Dress accordingly.

Group size: About 15 people.

Cost: $2,400 per person, double occupancy. And additional $500 for single occupancy. Costs include hotel, ground transportation once we are in Leipzig until we end in Erfurt, all meals except lunches any dinner if you eat separately from the group. Plan on some expenses for gratuities. Cost does not include airfare. The schedule is subject to change. The event begins and ends in Leipzig. The tour is being led by Bishop Michael Rinehart.

REGISTER NOW: A $500 refundable deposit is due upon registration. A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 will be due March 5, 2020. Final payment is due May 5, 2020. This trip is open to all. To register send your name and deposit to:

TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod
12941 I-45 North Freeway, Suite 210
Houston, TX 77060
281-873-5665
Memo: Reformation Trip 2020

Questions? Contact bishop@gulfcoastsynod.org

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf of springtime.
—Martin Luther

Luther and the Reformation: A Chronology

PRE-LUTHER
1184 – Waldensians declared heretics.
1384 – Wycliffe died.
1415 – July 6, Jan Hus burned at the stake for his 45 propositions. From the pulpit he condemned indulgences, simony and papal immorality.
1450’s – moveable type invented.
1453 – Constantinople falls to Ottomans
1498 – Savonarola interrogated, tortured and hanged.
LUTHER STAGES OF LIFE
1. Childhood – 14 years (1483-1497)
2. Formal education – 8 years (1497-1505)
3. First career: Professor – 17 years (1505-1522)
4. Second career: Reformer – 24 years (1523-1546)
1. CHILDHOOD – 14 years 

1483 – Luther born on November 10, 1482 in Eisleben, to Hans and Margarethe Luder (or Ludher, later Luther). The next day he baptized on the Feast of St. Martin of Tours. He grew up in Mansfeld where he attended the Latin school.

2. FORMAL EDUCATION – 8 years

1497 – At age 14 Luther was sent to the cathedral school in Magdeburg.
1498 – Sent to Eisenach (just below the Wartburg) to be closer to family.
1501 – University of Erfurt at age 18. He would spend 10/11 next years here, four at the university and six at the monastery.
1502 – Passed baccalaureate exam. Started masters, requiring intense study of Aristotle.
1505 – Masters. Biretta and ring authorizing him to teach as a university professor and hold disputations. Also now able to enroll in jurisprudence, medicine or theology. Enrolled in law.
3. FIRST CAREER: PROFESSOR – 17 years
1505 – July Luther abruptly quit law and entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. Studied for the ministry. Not all monks do.
1507 – Ordained.
1508 – and 1509 Luther lectured on Aristotle
1510 – Trip to Rome.
1511 – Luther moved into the Augustinian house in Wittenberg where he lived the rest of his life, first as a monk, then as a husband and father.
1512 – Received doctorate and succeeded Staupitz as chair of the department of theology at Wittenberg. Sworn in by Karlstadt. Taught first course: Psalms verse by verse until 1515.
1515 – Taught Romans.
1516 – Taught Galatians.
1517 – Taught Hebrews.
1517 – The 95 Theses.
1518 – The Heidelberg Disputation (April 26) and the 28 Theses.
1518 – Luther ordered to Rome. Frederick sent him to Augsburg instead where Cardinal Cajetan was to take his recantation. Cajetan demanded Luther be turned over or driven out of Saxony. Frederick refused. Can’t have his superstar executed, who is attracting record numbers of students to his new university.
1519 – Luther debated Eck in Leipzig.

1519 – Charles elected emperor, age 19?

1520 – June. Papal Bull Exurge Domine declaring Luther a heretic

1520 – Luther published Freedom of a Christian.

1521 – January. Papal Bull excommunicating Luther.
1521 – April, Diet of Worms.
1521 – Suleiman the Magnificent captured Belgrade.
1521 – Emperor put ban on Luther but still needed support of German princes against Turkish threat. Luther now an excommunicated, imperial outlaw.
1521 – May 1521 to March 1522, Luther in the Wartburg. 300 days.
1521 – 13 brothers quit the monastery and married in November.
1522 – January Karlstadt (35) married Anna von Molchau (17?).
1522 – March 6 Luther left the Wartburg after ten months.
1522 – Sermons on Christian Freedom.
1522 – Lay people begin receiving the cup in Wittenberg. Karlstadt beings using the Words of Institution in German.
4. SECOND CAREER: REFORMER – 24 years
From this point on Luther is swept along with the flow of events. Support for Reform was given or denied by city councils and princes. If a local priest began preaching salvation by grace alone, offering the cup, condemning indulgences, Rome would pressure through the bishop and the priest would appeal to the city council.
1523 – Easter 12 nuns smuggled out of Marienthron Cistercian Cloister
1523 – Luther published That Christ was Born a Jew, a positive appraisal of the Jewish community.
1524 – Luther stoped wearing his monastic garb
1525 – Peasants’ War (Revolution of 1525). Luther wrote Admonition to Peace, fearing anarchy and the destruction of Germany.
1525 – Radical preacher Thomas Müntzer forced to confess and executed.
1525 – Frederick received bread and wine in his final communion, then passed away.
1525 – June 13, Luther married Katharina von Bora (1499-1552), one of 12 nuns he had helped escape from the Nimbschen Cistercian convent in April 1523. Katie had lived there since she was nine years old.
1526 – Hans Luther was born.
1526 – Turkish rule established in Hungary.
1527 – Elizabeth Luther was born but died within a year.
1528 – Saxon Visitation.
1529 – Cochlaeus published the 7-headed Luther.
1529 – Magdalena Luther was born.
1529 – Ein Feste Burg written? Lord Keep Us Steadfast In Your Word?
1529 – Turks laid siege to Vienna (300 mi from Munich). Charles begged for support of both Lutheran and Catholic princes.
1530 – Diet of Augsburg in June, where Lutherans defended their faith. Not safe for Luther to attend. Charles renewed Luther’s outlaw status and gave churches six months to dismantle religious innovations/ reforms. Burning of German New Testaments, hymnboks, etc.
1530 – Schmalkald League formed for protection.
1531 – Martin Luther Jr. was born.
1531 – Luther lectured on Galatians again. Ein Feste Burg published.
1533 – Paul Luther was born.
1534 – Margarethe Luther was born.
1534 – Wittenberg Bible published. 200,000 copies of Luther’s New Testament have already been sold.
1535 – Luther began teaching courses on Genesis.
1535 – Papal Nuncio Vegerio visited Luther in Wittenberg. How do you do ordinations without bishops? Luther promised to attend a council if it was held.
1537 – Theologians and rulers met in Schmalkald. Luther had a urinary infection. Frederick refused to attend the council. Luther resumed writing, preaching, lecturing and serving as dean of the theology faculty at Wittenberg.
1539 – Luther preached in Leipzig commemorating his debate with Eck 20 years earlier. His text was John 12, Jesus’ assurance to be with all who keep his word. Luther used this to say the true church was that which kept Jesus’ word, not the dictates of Rome.
1539 – Luther published The Councils and the Church, showing contradictions between the decrees of popes and councils.
1540 – Landgrave Philip of Hesse married without divorcing his wife (mother of 10).
1541 – Turks threatened again.
1542 – Magdalena Luther dies at age 13, in a heartbroken Luther’s arms.
1543 – On The Jews And Their Lies published. Advocated burning Jewish synagogues, schools, houses and books. Catholic John Eck had said the same thing.
1544 – Luther exaggerated the threats enemies on all sides. Turks, Jews, enthusiasts, sacramentarians, Rome, Emperor Charles V who he believed was going to force the Lutherans back under Rome once the Council of Trent has completed its reforms.
1545 – Against the Roman Papacy Instituted by the Devil. 
1546 – February 18 Luther died while mediating a dispute in Eisleben.
POST-LUTHER
1546-7 – Schmalkald War. Katherine and children (and Melanchthon) flee Wittenberg twice, the second time to Braunschweig.
1548 – Charles defeated protestants and captured Wittenberg.
1549 – RC Johann Cochlaeus published Commentary on the Acts and Writings of Martin Luther of Saxony
1552 – In December Katharine died. Buried at Torgau. 4/6 children survived.
1555 – Lutherans given legal status in the empire by Charles V (b. 1500).
1557 – Charles retired.
1559 – Charles died.
1633 – Galileo convicted of heresy. Sentenced to life in prison, commuted to house arrest for the rest of his life.
1655 – Slaughter of Italian Waldensians.
1738 – John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience, his heart “strangely warmed” at hearing Luther’s Preface to Romans.
Late 1800’s – Nietzsche
PEOPLE 
John Bugenhagen – Pastor and professor in Wittenberg. Assumed responsibility for new Protestant religious constitutions in N Germany and Denmark. Presides at Luther’s wedding.
Karlstadt – Professor Andrew Bodenstein. Nicknamed after his city. Administered the oath to Luther (1511?) in which he swore not to teach anything condemned by the church.
John Lang – Augustinian brother and friend.
Gabriel Zwilling – Fellow Augustinian.
Charles V – (1500-1558) Son of Philip the Handsome and Joana the Mad. 1519 Charles became the holy Roman Emperor and the Archduke of Austria.
Luther and Katie’s Six Children
1. Hans (1526-75) lawyer in Weimar.
2. Elizabeth (1527-8) died in infancy.
3. Magdalena (1529-42) Conceived within a year. Lived to 13. Died in Luther’s arms.
4. Martin (1531-65) studied theology. Died in his 30’s.
5. Paul (1533-93) Professor & physician
6. Margarethe (1534-70) 18 years old when Katie died.

 

The Census in my Family

We don’t know how my great, great, great grandfather Valentine Rinehart (1773-1868) spelled his last name. We don’t even know if he could read or write. Maybe he didn’t spell it at all.

In the 1820 census, 200 years ago, the census-taker spelled Valentine and his wife Elizabeth’s last name Rinhart. Notice the census recorded only the name of the head of household, then the number and relative ages of the others in the household.They had nine children. This census lists 11 in the household. There were no questions. No interest in citizenship. A census counts all people in the country, not citizens.

In the 1830 census, the census-taker spelled their last name Rhinehart (second line down, below). In 1830 Valentine was 57, a year younger than I am. Four of their nine children were still living in the household it appears. His son David’s baptismal record (May 28, 1807) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Somerset County, Pennsylvania spells his last name Reinhardt.

Valentine’s gravestone spells his last name Reinhart.

Valentine’s son David appears in the 1840 census (bottom, below). The census-taker spelled David’s last name Rineheart. Family of five.

David named his son Valentine III, after his father and his uncle. My grandfather Howard (born 1901), the youngest of eleven children, is obviously not yet in the 1900 census. The census-taker spells his last name Rinehart. It’s interesting that Valentine says he’s a farmer, and he and his wife Christena indicate no schooling. He is 17 years older than his wife. A citizenship question is on the census, but there are no answers to the questions, in any of the pages I read. There are eleven in the household: nine children.

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