October 24, 2023
This Sunday is Reformation Sunday.
Wear red! This is the Sunday each year that
we remember the contribution of Martin
Luther to Christianity. Such celebrations are
ways of keeping us moored in a world in
First we want to remember that Luther was
a Reformer of the Church, not the inventor
of a new faith. 506 years ago on Oct. 31,
since he posted the Ninety-five Theses on
the door of the Wittenburg church, He looked back on the long history of the church and saw
much to appreciate. God was in the church, though his presence was not always transparent.
A variety of Christian denominations and non-Christian faiths have arisen, since. They invented
something new and looked upon the history of the church with disdain. Scientology with its
headquarters in Hemet is just one example of such a creative religion.
Luther had seen reformers in the past succeed in changing the current course of the church.
There were attempts to bridge the gap between his understanding of the scriptures and the
Roman Catholic Church at the time. Sadly, those discussions did not bear fruit in their day.
Today such discussions have been very fruitful.
One of the reasons for the disconnect was a misapplication of Luther’s Two Kingdoms theory.
For Luther Kingdom of God is where Grace and Truth reigned. The Kingdoms of this world had
human beings in authority. The Roman Catholic church of the time thought they were in
control of the Kingdom of God. They had the power to affect how God would judge people. So,
if people brought benefits to the church, the church would benefit them.
Church officials used that understanding to raise funds for the church. Indulgences were one
example. You could purchase a dispensation from the Pope for your own misdeeds or those of
a relative, moving your soul past any judgment that might be awaiting you. They could do this
because they controlled the Kingdom of God. This was “the” example that Luther responded
to in the posting of the 95 Theses. Jesus had control of the Kingdom of God, not human beings.
Human authority could get caught up in the things of this world, which the Pope at the time
did. Jesus used his power to freely forgive sins as he did for Peter who denied him, as he did
for the thief next to him and the crowd below him on the cross.
Secondly, Luther at his trial in front of the Holy Roman Emperor said that he used Scripture
and plain and clear reason. His use of these sources of truth resonates with me and has been
a pillar for a Lutheran understanding of God. There is a reason so many of the most respected
Biblical scholars are Lutheran. People who abandon one or the other of those sources suffer
People who rely only on their understanding of the world travel this life unmoored to any
outside point of reference. Scripture has been a source of guidance and hope for thousands of
years. Why abandon the insights it brings? Why be unhinged from the Grace of God that
Luther found so comforting?
On the other hand, there are people who abandon plain and clear reason. They cut and paste
bits of scripture together and come up with beliefs that are at odds with what we can know in
observing the world around them. There are plenty of examples. One thing that has bothered
me through the years is the denial of evolution. Plain reason makes clear that the whole
universe is in constant change. It has been evolving for 15 billion years. We can see it in real-time as strains of COVID or the flu evolve. There is no reason to abandon science for the sake
of Scripture or Scripture for the sake of science. We can use our clarifying reason to bind them
The third insight that Luther lifted in his time was the Grace of God revealed in Jesus. He
understood as Paul did when writing in Romans 3: 23 Since all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God; 24 They are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in
The catholic church at the time had lost sight of this gift. The Luther’s pope was Leo X, a
Medici. His wealthy family purchased his way to power. He would be followed by three other
family members who would likewise become Popes. They were interested in acquiring
funds to purchase art and build St. Peter’s in Rome. Offering the world assurance of the free
gift of Grace through Christ was not on their agenda.
Luther stood against this corruption of Scripture. His hope to reform the church at that time
was shattered when Leo X excommunicated him, he was excommunicated at his death.
This Sunday we salute the work of Luther, which has been an anchor for the Lutheran Church
for over 500 years. His insights were a solid foundation on which a worldwide church was built.
Holding scripture and reason together, we are reminded that the Kingdom of God is in God’s
hands and is where Grace abounds!
Prayer – Lord, we thank you for reformers like Martin Luther. May we, with the insights of
scripture and the clarity of reason, be open to your Kingdom of grace.
Grace and Peace Pastor Bunge
LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours this week. 12:30-3:00 M – Th. Pastor will be in
Tuesday and Wednesday October 24 and 25 and October 30 and 31.
New Members – Interested in joining Faith? We will have a new member orientation Dec 10
and new member received on Dec. 17. Let Pastor Bunge know if you are interested.
Next Pantry – October 28. We are looking for boxes of cereal, bags of rice, macaroni & cheese
, and canned fruit, as well as Thanksgiving items. There has been a huge reduction in donations to
Feeding America-Riverside, supplies for our Food Pantry are very low.
Choir – We have a nice start to our choir. Join us for practice at 9:00 a.m. ahead of worship.
Bells – We meet on Thursday nights. Let Irm know about your interest.
Adult Class – We have started the six-week class on Forgiveness Heals the Empty Soul. Join us
Wednesdays in October 1 – 2:30 pm. This workshop focuses on the soul’s need for
reconciliation from one-sidedness, hurt, and memories. The process of Forgiveness is
presented from both a Jungian and Christian context. Steve Cady will be leading the class.
WELCA – Next Women’s Bible Study will be Saturday, November 4 at 9:30 a.m. in the Fireside
QUILTING – Each Tuesday beginning at 9 a.m. 19 quilts were taken to the drop-off site for use by
Lutheran World Relief, on top of the 15 quilts were presented to CCLM’s homeless men.
Confirmation Classes Resume October 29 and November 5. Confirmation service for Elisha
and Russell will November 12. Bishop Nagler will join us. Confirmation classes begin again
November 19 and December 10 and 17.
Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests Reminder
As of September 25, every U.S. household can again place an order to receive your free
COVID-19 rapid tests, which are delivered directly to your home by the USPS. Go to
Joe Koenig came through the removal of his cancerous kidney and is out walking in the yard
with a 90% reduction in pain.
Kyle Hadley who had a quadruple bypass on Tuesday, October 3, likewise, is walking outside.
Jacque Kottmeier had a mild stroke but is also now home.
Jan Wheeler is recovering well. Her daughter and Nick were marvelous help.
• The family of Cady’s daughter’s friend, Brooke. They are deciding on a process to have her
taken off of nutritional support.
• erwin appreciates our continued prayer for Lynda.
• Kyle and Dana would appreciate prayers for their son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law, Lisa, suffering
• The Koenig Family – Jeanne is undergoing treatments for complications from accumulating
spinal fluid which is affecting her eyesight, speech, and motor skills. She is also in considerable
pain from the swelling in her head. Daughter, Jessica’s leukemia is being managed, but leaves
her tired. We are also praying for Lucas.
• Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle. Cesar’s Sister Maria
also had a lump removed from her neck and the biopsy came back non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
• The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of housing for
themselves and the twins.
• We continue our prayers for Becky Malinowski.
• Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
FALL FELLOWSHIP: Focus on Faith Family
CHILI COOKOFF. We all had fun tasting the 5 very different chilis. Thanks to
Karen Hall who provided the prizes for all. Thanks to Jerry Mills, Paula Winters,
Sharon Cady, Richard Beal, and Pastor Bunge for their creations.
THIS SUNDAY Join us for Birthday Cakes designed by Jennifer & Richard
Beal to celebrate Reformation, the Birthday of the church and Very Merry
Unbirthdays for July – December birthdays.
NOV. 5 – WELCA Women
NOV. 12 – Confirmation Celebration for Elisha Mkanza
& Russell Koger. Bishop Nagler will join us.
NOV. 19 – Cookies, Coffee & Conversation
If you would like to donate cookies or fruit, let Connie know.
NOV. 26 – Thanksgiving Break