Five centuries ago, Augustinian monk and lecturer Martin Luther started a theological revolution with the publication of his ‘95 Theses’ nailed to the door of a church in Wittenburg, Germany. Luther and contemporaries such as John Calvin protested the religious status quo of the day and called for an end to many common practices, including the sale of indulgences, or pardons for certain types of sins. It was a divisive time in religious history, followed by decades of political and social upheaval and war.
While visiting with a group of Finnish Lutherans at the Vatican in early 2016, Pope Francis called for greater unity between Lutherans and Catholics.
“Differences still remain in doctrine and in practice. This must not discourage us, but instead spur us along our journey towards ever greater unity,” he said.
Two churches in the Pacific Northwest are taking Francis at his word, planning a joint concert to mark the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. Paul Brueggemeier, choir director at Central Lutheran Church in Spokane, is working with Maria Mazzo from St. Mary Magdalene Church in Portland to co-host the event. Featured pieces at the concert will include a jazz requiem by composer Michael Kissinger, as well as traditional hymns, Brueggemeier said.
We’re hoping people from both Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches will want to join us, Brueggemeier said.
“Our goal is to be Christ to the world, and for people to see the love of Christ in us,”