Reformation (and Reconciliation) Day

31 October 2006

I must admit to greatly mixed feelings about Reformation Day. As is done for so many feasts and observances, it is transferred at MyChurch from October 31 to the nearest Sunday, which this year was Sunday, October 29. MyChurch also includes “Reconciliation” in the name of the Day, which I think is right thinking.

Although I think that pride of a certain sort is important (as the Old Lutheran says, “Proud, but not too proud,”), celebrating this day seems . . . less than ideal. I’m not aware of what significance Luther gave to nailing the 95 Theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral on the Eve of All Saints. Their proximity on the calendar, even if they are actually observed a week apart, must be bound to detract from each.

I’m probably reading too much into this, but it seems that celebrating Reformation Day —a holiday that commemorates difference and division, even if it is in a good cause— so close to All Saints is simultaneously oxymoronic and beautifully appropriate. As if to say, “We recognize and honor the Communion of Saints, widely interpreted, but only after celebrating our own particular ‘right-ness.'” On the other hand, it seems to say, “Although we are distinct and Lutheran, we also have to recognize we are but one segment of the Communion of Saints.” I’m sure that my ambivalent reading of this juxtaposition is colored by my Denominational Situation.

Something else: Reformation Day, the major feast day commemorating the beginning of the Reformation in general and Lutheranism in particular, should be a day of affirmation. If Lutherans want to commemorate such a day, wouldn’t June 25 be better, the day the Augsburg Confession was first publicly read? Unfortunately, I think that the day the 95 Theses were posted, while of great significance, is perhaps a little less central to Lutheran identity than it might seem. It is the beginning, but is it really a definitive date? Is it really the best day to commemorate Lutheran identity and beginnings in particular? June 25 would work nicely, I think, because it will always, or almost always, come after Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, adding another link in the nice arc which is the liturgical year.

WMMDRSG: Pages-a-day

So, I’m thinking about doing a 10-page a day, 70-pages a week reading schedule for myself for Moby Dick. I figure I can always make up missed pages on Friday and Sundays. Crazy? Maybe.


2 Responses to “Reformation (and Reconciliation) Day”

  1. Jason Says:

    Your exploits into MD might be better divided by chapters, Jorge. It seems I remember the chapters are generally pretty short, but multitudinous. They are all very distinct from each other too. Some are pseudoscientific, some are plot-driven, and some are just stacks and stacks of gorgeous imagery.

    I’d like to join your readings, but I think I’ll be way too busy. I do plan on eagerly reading your thoughts and occasionally contributing any Marilynne bits that may come floating back.

  2. Thanks for the advice, Jason. First time I tried reading Moby Dick, I got 3 chapters in, so the character of the book didn’t really become apparent to me.

    It’s got 135 chapters . . . I’d like to be done by Christmas, which may be a crazy goal. I’m thinking 15 – 20 chapters a week. The chapters seem to average between 3 and 8 pages, so depending on the particular chapters involved that’ll be between 50 and 80 pages a week on average.

    And if it takes longer or I stall a little bit near the end of term (which will likely happen), no sweat.

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