Showing posts with label Reformation Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reformation Day. Show all posts

Celebrating Reformation Day: More Resources

(Pretty frost on the trees this morning - it's cold out there!)


A couple years ago, we started celebrating Reformation Day.  I wanted my kids to have a greater sense of their heritage as Christians, a greater idea of their place in the history of the church and how God is working through His church down through the ages.  And since we don't celebrate Halloween, Reformation Day also seemed like a fun and worthwhile thing to celebrate instead.

I wrote a few posts about how we celebrated Reformation Day, some of the resources I like for teaching kids about Reformation Day, etc.  Well, I'm always looking for more books and resources to add to our collection, and I found a few that I wanted to share as we get ready for Reformation Day next week!  If you are looking for some resources for teaching your kids about church history, or just want to learn more about the Protestant Reformation yourself, here are a few more to add to your list.


Little Pilgrims Theology Free Lesson - I just came across this free lesson plan for a Reformation Day study with your kids!  If you would like Reformation Day to be a family event, and you have kids in upper elementary, this would be something to check out. We are planning on working through this lesson together next week! I also listed a bunch of other family resources in this post.

Ligionier's Reformation Day Playlist - The 500th anniversary of the Reformation was in 2017, and even though I somehow missed the fanfare that year, a lot of great resources were created to mark the occasion - including this playlist from Ligionier Ministries by speakers at a Reformation Anniversary conference.  (Ligionier actually has a bunch of Reformation Day playlists, but I liked this one because it had longer messages.)  I've listened to a few of these messages the last few weeks, and they are so inspiring.  Highly recommend checking these out in the week leading up to Reformation Day - I'll be listening to more of these messages too!

Luther: In Real Time Podcast - Ligionier Ministries is also putting out a real-time podcast following the events of the Reformation on the dates they happened historically!  The first couple episodes are already out, and I can't wait for the October 31st episode that I'm sure is coming.

In The Year Of Our Lord by Sinclair Ferguson - This is a book I picked up to read in honor of Reformation month - each chapter covers a century of church history, giving some info and stories about church heroes of that time.  I also love that it includes a hymn from each century at the end of the chapter.  I think this would be a great "highlight" study of church history from the very beginnings of Christianity until now, and it's great as a lead-up to Reformation Day!


You want to know something?  Our foray into celebrating the Reformation was almost a one-year occasion.  The first year I came up with a few ideas for celebrating, and in my book, it didn't seem like anything too special.  The next year we were particularly busy that week, and I thought we'd probably just skip any special marking of the day that year.  

But my kids didn't forget.  

My oldest reminded me that Reformation Day was coming, and they all told me how excited they were to celebrate and learn about Martin Luther again.  So I threw together a haphazard celebration that they thought was amazing, and I'm so glad I did.  Because they were right.  Even if it's not the 500th anniversary, Reformation Day is worth marking.  Protestants tend to be a little historically untethered, as if there wasn't any church history between the disciples and the last hundred years.  And it's so unnecessary, because we have rich history to root us, firm historical ground to stand on.  

Reformation Day is a day to remember the heroes that came before us, men who believed in God's Word and stood up for what it said, even when it might have cost them their lives.  It's a day to take courage from their bravery, and to thank God once again that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, apart from any merit or works of our own.  When that truth sinks in, when we trust in Christ alone for the salvation of our souls, and realize that He exchanged our filthy rags of sin for His pure-white righteousness in the eyes of God - well, that truth can set you free.  It's a beautiful thing, worth all our gratitude and thanksgiving and praise, to the glory of God.  

That's what the Reformation is all about.  It's not just about the historical roots of what Martin Luther did that day - it's ultimately about the most glorious gift of what Christ has done to save us.  That's worth celebrating every day, but Reformation Day is a good opportunity each year to turn our eyes to Jesus anew.

For Celebrating Reformation Day



This morning I was still laying in bed when I heard my kids shouting from their rooms.

"It's Reformation Day!"

Last year we played up Reformation Day quite a bit, but I wasn't feeling very organized this year, so I didn't plan anything.

"Mom, it's Reformation Day!  Did you make us new shirts?  Can we have chocolate pudding with worms in it again?"

So I guess it's a tradition now.

I'm spending the morning perusing my bookshelves, digging out that video about Martin Luther that we rented from the library, and trying to think of other last-minute things we can do to celebrate.  I'm not mad about this last-minute scramble though.  We don't celebrate Halloween, but last year I decided there is no reason we can't celebrate Reformation Day instead, and I love that my kids have latched onto it.

We dug out our shirts from last year, and they still fit, so we're all good.  Well, except for Georgie, but she doesn't know any different this year.



Protestants are notorious for knowing so little about their own history, and it's a pity because there are so many inspiring men and women who worked to spread God's Word and the truth of the Gospel!  Many gave their lives so others could know that they could be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

I want my kids to know that history, to be inspired by those men and women who were willing to give everything - their reputations, their livelihood, their lives - for their faith.  My tagline for this blog (back when people were really into taglines) used to be about living each day with eternity in mind.  Well, I can't think of any better example of that than these martyrs, and I'm glad that we have this day each year to remember the truth of the Gospel and be strengthened by the faith of those who have come before us.

So, anyway, if you are a Protestant family that would also like your children to have some grounding in church history, I've got a few resources for you.  Some to strengthen you, and some fun ones just for kids.  You don't have to start teaching kids about their Protestant heritage just on Reformation Day, you can start any time!



Also, throwing together some chocolate pudding with gummy worms definitely helps with the retention, in my experience.

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For Kids:

The Life Of Martin Luther - A fun pop-up book about Martin Luther's life!  I wrote about this last year too, you can read more here.

Reformation ABC's - This would honestly be a good resource to learn more about the Reformation for adults as well as kids.  Fun illustrations, and lots of great history.

Church History ABC's - I just ordered this one, and I haven't received it yet, but I think it is similar to the Reformation ABC's.  Basically, I think anything by Stephen J. Nichols is going to be good for church history.

Torchlighters: The Martin Luther Story - I'm not quite sure if my kids are ready for this one yet, so I'm holding off until I can watch it first, but this movie or something similar will definitely be in our Reformation Day celebrations in the future.

Tiny Theologians - If you haven't heard of this website, you need to go check it out!  Lots of colorful and fun tools for teaching kids theology and church history!

Sola Gratia Co - Last year I bought a couple of our Reformation Day shirts from Diet Of Worms Apparel - sadly the business closed, but Sola Gratia Co has some fun shirts that could also do the trick!  I really like the "soli deo gloria" ones.  Or you could make your own like I did, it wasn't that hard.  Maybe I'll do a how-to post one of these days.



For Adults:

The Reformation by Stephen J. Nichols - This is my go-to recommendation for a book to read about the Reformation. It's a short, readable book, with lots of information about the Reformers that I found so fascinating and inspiring!

Why The Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester - If you need some clarification about what the big deal even was about the Reformation, this book goes into the specific doctrines and differences between Protestants and Catholics.  Really informative and helpful.

Wretched Reformation Celebration - You can watch this video on Youtube - I haven't had a chance to sit and watch it yet, but Todd Friel puts out some great resources for Reformation Day each year, sharing stories of martyrs, etc.  There are some short video clips on this channel about the stories of some of the reformers too: here, here, and here, for example.

Five Minutes In Church History - A great podcast about church history!  I was searching through their archives this morning and specifically liked hearing R.C. Sproul talk about the Reformation here.

Foxe's Book Of Martyrs - I have never read this book, because I know it's obviously going to be hard to read.  But I need to just buckle down and start.  I know there are stories of martyrs from the Reformation period in here as well, and I think it's important to remember their stories.

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Even though I dropped the ball on Reformation Day this year, I am going to make sure I put some effort into it next year.  It's obviously become a fun memory for my kids.  Fond memories surrounding learning about church history?  Yes, please.

Have you ever done anything to celebrate or remember Reformation Day?




How We Celebrated Reformation Day (And Why)

(Some affiliate links in this post!  Just on the books you know, so I can buy more books...)

A few weeks ago, we were working through a history lesson, and somehow I got onto the topic of the Reformation.

"So Martin Luther nailed his 95 points to the church door, and there is a thing called Reformation Day now."

"Reformation Day?" Wyatt asked.

"Yes, and it's actually on the same day as Halloween."

Gwen looked thoughtful for a moment.  "Mom, can we celebrate Reformation Day this year?"

And just like that, we were celebrating Reformation Day this year.

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I already explained a few weeks ago why we choose not to celebrate Halloween in our family, so I am not sure why it hasn't occurred to me to celebrate Reformation Day.  Reformation Day is on October 31st, which is the day that Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenburg.  He was mostly arguing against the practice of indulgences at that time, but he came to realize through this process of studying the Bible that our salvation is purely by the grace of God.  We contribute nothing to our salvation, because we have no righteousness of our own with which to approach God.  Christ took the punishment for our sin and gives us His righteousness when we put our trust in Him, and our salvation is completely through His sacrifice and apart from our own works.

You can read more about the Reformation on your own (that was a very surface-y explanation above), but the bottom line is that if you are part of any Protestant Christian denomination, it all started right here.  With Martin Luther and other Reformers, who studied the Bible, through their study rediscovered the truth of the good news of the Gospel, and brought the church back to the firm foundation of the Word Of God.

This is YOUR history, and you are still reaping the benefits of the work the Reformers did in bringing the truth of the Gospel to light. 

I think that is worth celebrating for sure!

As a mom, I really want my kids to know Christian history, and the heritage that has been passed down to us through the sacrifices of people like the Reformers, who fought and died for the truth of God's Word.  I think in Protestant circles, we tend to get a little disconnected from our history, and I'd really like my kids to have a sense of the history and heroes of the faith between the end of the Bible (around 96 AD) until today. I explain these things to them, but I think making a celebration of this part of our history is a wonderful way to help personalize it for my kids.  As I was thinking about how to celebrate Reformation Day, I was trying to think of some ways to have a little fun while we remember our Christian history too.  Here is how we celebrated this year!



1. Reformation Day Shirts 

Several months ago, I stumbled across Diet Of Worms apparel, which makes clothing for "little (and big) reformers".  I laughed out loud at their "It's Hammer Time" t-shirt, and I ordered one for Wyatt and a "Sola Fide" t-shirt for myself.  They have since gone out of business, so I took some inspiration from them and made t-shirts for everyone else in our family myself!  A little guide:

Sola Fide - Latin for "faith alone".  This is one of the five "solas" of the Reformation.


Image via Facebook



1517 - The year Martin Luther nailed up his theses (this year was the 501st anniversary!).



"The Righteous Shall Live By Faith" - the phrase in Romans that led to Luther's epiphany that our salvation is through faith alone.



"On This I Stand, I Can Do No Other" - This is what Luther said at the "Diet Of Worms", which is actually what they called a church council/trial held in the city of Worms, when church leaders asked Luther to recant his writings.  The full quote is here:

“Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason (I do not accept the authority of popes and councils because they have contradicted each other), my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

The kids loved their shirts and asked to wear them again the next day!  This was fun for me, because it was a like a little Reformation Day present/surprise I could give them.
Speaking of the Diet Of Worms...

2. Worm Pudding
As a play on the Diet Of Worms, we had a "diet of worms" in the form of gummy-worm-and-orea-pudding!  I thought this was really funny and clever of myself, ha!  My kids were a little young to get the joke I think, they just enjoyed the pudding.
3.  A Sausage Dinner
This is in honor of a different sausage dinner, and a sermon preached by a priest there, which kicked off the Reformation in Switzerland.  You can read more about that here.  (Sausage dinner not pictured, but it was really good.)

4. Reformation Day Books
I first toyed with the idea of celebrating Reformation Day last year, for the 500th anniversary, but I was hugely pregnant, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if my kids were old enough to "get it".  This year my oldest two are 7 and 5, and I have to say, it's been really pleasantly surprising to me how much they understand about what the Reformation means!  The got an idea of what we were celebrating just through conversations together, but I wanted to find some books to drive it home.  These are the two I picked:
Reformation ABC's - This is a thorough book for kids, covering a different aspect or hero of the Reformation for each letter.  We didn't read this whole book, since it's probably geared for kids a little older than my kids, but we read several pages, about the Bible, Luther, Hiedelburg and Westminster.  my kids were excited when they recognized a catechism question on the Westminster page!
The Life Of Martin Luther: A Pop-Up Book - This is a pop-up book (obviously), and my kids asked me to read it three times!  It's the story of Martin Luther in a nutshell, and the pop-ups make it so fun.  The only thing I'd change about this book is a line on the last page that mentions Luther introducing "new ideas" - I would rephrase that "biblical ideas" - but other than that, it's just perfect!
5.  Reformation Reading For Me 
This whole celebration of Reformation Day really started with my reading challenge this year.  One of the categories was to read about church history, so I picked up a couple books about the Reformation.  I have been a Christian since I accepted Christ as a child, and I grew up in the church, and it was shocking how much of this history I DIDN'T know!  If you want to celebrate Reformation Day with your kids, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the history too!  Not only has is been helpful in teaching the history to my kids, but it has made me pay more careful attention to different verses in my Bible reading, and really enriched my own faith this year.
The Reformation: How A Monk And A Mallet Changed The World by Stephen Nichols - This book is short and sweet, and most importantly, very readable!  I found this whole book really fascinating, and learned about how I've benefitted from the sacrifices of Reformers I'd never even heard of.  This is a must-have primer on the history of the Reformation, in my opinion.
Why The Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester   -  If the book above is about the history of the Reformation, this book is about the nuts and bolts of what the Reformation was really about.  A lot of the theology discussed is more subtle than I originally thought, but the distinctions are so, so important.  I'm almost done listening to this one on audio, and highly recommend it!

Also a heads up - one of my favorite podcasts/websites has a free "Reformation Day Celebration" for download!  I haven't had a chance to watch it yet because our internet was out last week, but it's still available here!


Stay tuned for Reformations Days in years to come, because I have more ideas already spinning in my head for next year!

Have you heard of Reformation Day?  Have you ever celebrated it (and how)? 

I highly encourage you to give it a try next year!  We had fun with it!









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