Exactly half a millenia ago, to this date, a young monk went public and nailed 95 questions demanding an answer on the door of the main church in Wittenberg, Germany.
500 years have gone by and the ripples of that act continue to move through the tides of time. So much of what we take for granted today stemmed from that tipping point of an act.
It was a specific and provocative call to reform. A call which was specifically aimed at a practice of selling 'indulgences' - get out of jail free cards from purgatory - where the real money was being pocketed by less than holy ones in the church.
But Luther's lightning rod was not social injustice: it was a deep and growing conviction that God reveals Himself to ordinary people through the His written word in the Bible.
Biblically-driven, revelation-doused Luther ended up alienating himself out of the church he sought to reform.
Of the many areas that I am personally indebted to Herr L - the biggest is this: his translation of the Bible into the language of the people. Though the English language Bible has arguably had the largest reach - Luther's pithy German version brought the scriptures into the hands of ordinary people - rich and poor, doctors of the law and simple servants. Gutenbergs moveable metallic press got the word to the world. English translations showed up later - and the Word continues to spread into language after language, often being the first book printed in newly minted scripts that help oral languages become written ones. The ripples of vernacular presses and people exchanging ideas when they have books in their own languages continue to move outwards.
Whether we like it or not - much of culture and history today is shaped by the Bible - both by folks who have sought to live it out and also by others who have pushed back knowingly or otherwise against what is revealed in this book.
A young monk set the ball rolling (again) 500 years ago today.
As a family Sheba and I woke up today and read the Word on our own. As we ended the day we read it together. And in between many of our actions and attitudes have been shaped by its living power. Yesterday I met with a room-full of men and women from all over our area who are shaping their lives and those of others through its living power. Simple people, losers to many, ones who know the salt of tears first-hand. But worthy followers in Central Bharat of the risen Lord, in each one's hand a Bible, far-off fruits of the acts set in motion by a brilliant young German from humble stock.
We thank the Lord for the re-formation - and ask for a deeper work of spiritual formation and overflow in each one of our lives.
Here's looking at you Martin sir!