JERUSALEM – The Arabic, English, and German congregations gathered together on Friday, October 31st, 2014 for the annual Reformation Day service at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem.
BETHLEHEM – On Friday, October 31st, 2014, the eighth grade students of the Evangelical Lutheran Schools participated in the Reformation Day celebration at Dar Al-Kalima School in Bethlehem. The day opened with a service guided by Bishop Munib Younan and continued with a number of different activities including art, lectures on Martin Luther, sport, music, and questions about Martin Luther and Lutheranism in general.
To listen to music from the Reformation Day celebration, you can visit the ELCJHL’s SoundCloud gallery.
The Church of the Redeemer, Old City Jerusalem celebrated the Reformation with a full congregation (standing room only, literally) of people from around the world. The pipe organ was accompanied by a brass band and the singing of more than 400 people from around the world. As is tradition in this church, the Lord’s Prayer is recited in all persons’ native language, offering a unique blend of English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Arabic, and many, many more spoken to the familiar cadence and melodies familiar to the Protestant church worldwide.
Reformation Day is a holiday celebrated by Lutherans (among other Protestant churches) in remembrance of the subsequent reformation of the Church of Rome by Martin Luther through his posting of the thesis on the door of his church on All Saints day, 31 October 1517. The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press. Within two weeks, copies of the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.
The Lutheran Church of the Reformation turns 125 and Abraham’s House turns five this year. So last month the church held an interfaith worship service and peace march to the separation wall to commemorate the milestones. The large crowd of marchers gathered near the walled-in Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, where prayers for the disintegration of the wall were offered by Muslim, Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders. One of the texts for the event was Psalm 18:30, “With my Lord I can jump over walls.”
Read an article about the Oct. 30 worship service and march, written by Rev. Jadalleh Shihadeh
The traditional Reformation service was celebrated as usual on October 31, a festival communion service in 6 different languages. Many local heads of churches attended the Reformation Service even though their tradition does not celebrate it. In addition, His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos II came to the reception following the service for the first time, a growing sign of the growing unity of the Palestinian Christian churches. Also, a delegation of African American heads of churches from the US participated. ELCJHL schools celebrated Reformation Day in gatherings that commemorated exhibited their understanding of the Reformation. Click here for more photos.