I got to see the movie Luther a few weeks back. I went with several others from our little fellowship of believers. I was impressed by the quality of the production and the boldness of the story-telling. It was for me a thought-provoking picture that persists now, several weeks later, as an experience of spiritual reflection. There are two thoughts that stay with me.
The wonderful depiction of the religious climate of Luther's day demonstrated to me how little the world of Christianity has really changed. The story we are in is not new, though sometimes we flatter ourselves that it is. The same vices of religious opportunism and the temptation to craft a pragmatic message remain constant threats to a life in Christ. True religious devotion is always threatening to established religious practice. It has always been dangerous to ask questions.
The second thought that speaks to me is the observation of how much we are the people of our time. Luther was a man of his time, which is to say nothing derogatory. He could have no more have initiated his reform in another time, then we today can escape our time. My own religious heritage bears the marks of the time and thought-world in which it was formed. I am reminded that I too will remain a person of my time.
I do not see this as negative, but actually encouraging. God is at work in this time, and being in tune "with the times" - at least the times as they are reckoned as God's working - is faithful. The question is how do we be as bold as Luther in claiming solidarity with the history God is creating?