Monday, October 15, 2012

Reformation Day ~ Ten Activities and Party Ideas


Have you decided what to do on October 31? Last week, I posted ten thoughts about what a Christian should do with Halloween. There was an incredible response, and I was encouraged that so many of you have really thought it through.

But do you know what else we can celebrate on October 31? Reformation Day. A couple of comments mentioned Reformation Day, and I thought I’d do a little research.


Reformation Day commemorates October 31, 1517, the day that church father Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church, thus beginning the Protestant Reformation. The basis of his 95 Theses was a protest to the current church teaching that sinners could buy forgiveness from the church. Luther insisted, rightly so, that forgiveness can only be granted by God. (You know, sometimes I wonder what in the world was going through the heads of the church leaders during that time in history. Did they actually read the scriptures, or did their greed determine their teachings? I hope they sought the forgiveness that only God can grant. But I digress….)

If you want to celebrate Reformation Day in your family or school, here are ten ideas I gathered from around the web.
  1. You can still dress up, but why not dress up as knights, princesses, and peasants from the Renaissance or as Bible characters? Sounds perfect for my kiddos. In the article Reformation Day -Redeeming October 31, CBN suggests dressing in costumes of characters from the Reformation, such as Martin Luther or John Calvin. Do you think Wal-Mart stocks Martin Luther rubber masks?
  2. The Holiday Zone has some terrific resources for coloring pages, word searches, and discussion questions, although I think I’d have to do some research before being able to participate in that discussion. Can you name the forerunners to the Reformation?   
  3. Your boys can design a coat of arms to identify themselves when they’re in a suit of armor. Story Board Toys has a how-to with downloadable templates. 
  4. The girls can make a lavender sachet to ward off the Bubonic Plague. Place a tablespoon of dried lavender in a circle of tulle, then pull up the sides and fasten with ribbon. Decorate as desired. 
  5. Learn the words to the hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Write it in your best handwriting on pretty paper and post it in your home. Learn to play it on the piano or the violin or the guitar, whatever musical instrument you or your children can play. 
  6. Sojourn Kids blogged that Martin Luther was put on trial before a “diet” (a group of church leaders) in the town of Worms, Germany. For a snack, have gummy worms in dirt pudding. 
  7. In Luther’s time, most people couldn’t read the Bible because it was printed in Latin. Have the children make their own Bibles using construction paper for a cover and stickers for illustrations.
  8. Play Pin the Theses on the Church Door. One blog thought this was weird, but my children have also made up the games of Feed the Steak to the T-Rex and Pin the Tiara on the Princess, so why not? 
  9. Watch the movie Luther. I’ve not seen it so I can’t vouch for it, but Amazon says that it is an “epic, ravishingly beautiful (The New York Times) film that traces Luther's extraordinary and exhilarating quest for the people's liberation.” Apparently, it’s even been compared to The Passion of the Christ.
  10. Eat some candy anyway. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?

Have fun, and don’t forget a time of prayer thanking the Lord for Martin Luther and his courage.









Do you celebrate Reformation Day? What activities can you add to the list?





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35 comments:

  1. What great ideas to redeem a holiday and teach important things about our faith. When we lived in Germany (when my husband was in the military), we visited Worms where Luther had posted his list of 95. And I love the movie Luther...so well made and inspiring. When I was in seminary, I had a prof who was a Luther expert and he said the movie was also very accurate historically.
    Bless you for this holiday idea.

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    1. Sounds like a terrific trip. I would love to see Germany someday. Thanks for the recommendation for the movie. It looks terrific, but since I hadn't seen it I hesitated to say it was wonderful. Thanks, Gail.

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  2. Nice ideas for October 31! We have seen the movie, Luther. Our son was junior high age and went with us to the theater reluctantly. We told him that the movie honored Martin Luther. When soldiers and stallions appeared on the screen he was sitting on the edge of his seat. He was engaged throughout the movie and afterwards said that it was great. I asked him, "So why didn't you want to go?"
    He said, "I thought it was about Martin Luther King--we hear about him in school."

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    1. That's funny that he would get them confused. I've wondered how often that happens, especially with children. Thanks, Carol, for the recommendation. I need to see it now -- soldiers and stallions sound pretty exciting!

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  3. At school the teacher always tells the story of the monk Martin Luther, about the storm, the choice to become a monk, the kidnapping of Luther by his friends and the translation of the Bible into the German language. This year I have bought a movie for the older children about Luther. I was very impressed when I saw the film for the first time.

    Thank you for your tips.

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    1. Sounds like you could add a lot to this post, Aritha! Thanks for your recommendation of the movie. Between your opinion and Gail's, I think I'm going to have to see it now.

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  4. Wow! Love this, Meghan. I ran across it in a blog link up today. I'm Lutheran and was thrilled to see your ideas for Reformation Day! I will pin and share it on my FB page.

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    1. I would love for you to let us know if you do any of these activities and how they work out. Thanks for the links, Susie!

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  5. I LOVE THIS!!!! We celebrate the Reformation in our church as many churches in our country can trace their roots back to the Reformation. (We even call them "Churches of the Reformation Heritage") I am definitely sharing this post with my Croatian readers.

    BTW, I have seen the movie Luther several times and it is incredible! One of my favorites. :)

    Blessings from Croatia!

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    1. So cool to have that heritage. I wondered if the churches in Europe would be more involved in Reformation Day than we are here, and it does seem so. Thanks for the thumbs-up for the movie and the tweet, Rosilind!

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    2. Yes they are. In Slovenia they have a civic holiday called "Reformation Day". They were quite profoundly affected by the Reformation. Croatia was much less so, mainly because they tried to stamp it out, and they nearly succeeded. The effects are still felt today as Protestants are a very, very small minority...less than 10,000. But another movement spread during WW2 (you can read about it in a wonderful book called Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy - a book that greatly influenced my sister, who also serves here in Croatia, and me). And then another huge wave of revival spread throughout the universities in the early 90's - when most of the people in our congregation came to Christ.

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  6. Our homeschool group is actually having a Reformation Day Party complete with full costumes, game stations, and treats. We are pinning the theses on the door of the church as well as having a Diet of Worms, obstacle course in the woods in a 'storm' and a few other things. I'm looking quite forward to it. And the kids think their thrift stored costumes quite neat. :)

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    1. Sounds like a great time! Thanks for the great suggestions.

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  7. This is a pretty cool idea, I think anything teaching my kids some history and a bit of gospel facts is pretty coll. Thanks, we'll have to do some of these. ;-)

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    1. Good point -- history plus Bible. Forget the regular school work for the day and have a party! Thanks, Danielle.

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  8. I teach Sunday school at our little country (Lutheran church) here. I think we could have great fun with these activities! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Have fun, and many blessings to you, Jennifer!

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  9. Unfortunately, like many people you're a bit confused about what caused the Reformation. There was never a teaching that you could "buy forgiveness from the church." I think you're getting confused about what indulgences are, which is a VERY common mistake. If you have a local college near you that teaches medieval or Renaissance history, I suggest getting in touch with one of the professors and getting some education on the topic :)

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    1. I'm not Lutheran, so I don't know what their exact church teaching is on this. I started with Wikipedia which says that Luther "insisted that, since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation_Day) A Q&A site by St. Paul's Lutheran Church says that the indulgences that upset Luther were "plenary, meaning that all sin and eternal and temporal punishment would be forgiven to those who purchased them." (http://www.stpaulskingsville.org/reformation.htm) I can certainly see why the laypeople were so confused in their faith! Maggie, if you stop back can you add a link or two that might explain it better? Or perhaps other readers could add their two cents?

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  10. We have been celebrating Reformation Day rather than Halloween for over 30 years now! Until now I have never heard of anyone else doing this! Blessings to you and your family as you continue to seek God!

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    1. Sounds like you have some solid traditions in place, Sylvia. So glad you stopped by, and many blessings to you!

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  11. Thanks for this...some of these will be fun for us to do!

    Blessings,
    Mrs. Sarah Coller

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    1. Thanks for commenting. Have a fun and blessed evening!

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  12. I agree with Gail-- "Luther" is historically accurate. My husband was in his first year of seminary (a Lutheran, ELCA one) when the movie came out. We, along with a few friends (I think there was about eight of us) went to see it after we went out for dinner. While it was "opening night", there were about 20 people in the theater. It is fairly accurate in what happened.

    Anyway, my husband teaches confirmation (catechism) classes on Wednesday evenings. He and the other pastors teaching talked about doing something for Reformation. I've been reading him some of these and he likes the Pin the Theses on the Church Door and the gummy worms in the dirt pudding. I joked and said that the pastors and I could go out after class for beer.

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    1. Thanks for the thumbs-up on the movie, Laura. Everyone seems to agree that it's pretty good. I loved the gummy worms in the dirt pudding. I think we'll be starting a new tradition in our family. And I'm glad that you said you were joking about the beer. :) I'm sure Luther was a beer drinker, although I wonder if it was like the whole wine-drinking issue from the Bible. The beer was probably safer than the water and quite weak compared to what is available now. So glad you stopped by, and I'd love to know how your Reformation celebration goes.

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  13. Megan...loved the ideas you found and shared here. I am featuring you this week at WJIM. And I'm glad to do so. Have a fabulous week.

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    1. Thank you, Naomi. Many blessings to you.

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  14. I have never heard anyone celebrating this day, but it is such a good way to teach them about the reformation! It is a very important period that is totally neglected. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

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    1. I wasn't aware of much celebration either, Janine. I was excited to find so many neat ideas.

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  15. Meghan, this is right along the lines for what I'm working on...if I can pulll it together and still have a trip we have planned! Lol We loved the movie Luther and also loved memorizing the words to M. Luther's hymn~
    Great ideas!!

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    1. Another endorsement for the movie Luther. Thanks, Jacqueline, and have a good trip!

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  16. Just stumbled across this older post - we too have the 'Luther' movie and watch it around Reformation every year. I will have to keep your other ideas in mind. We're Lutheran (WELS or ELS), so there is a special church service as well. We definitely want to do more when we have kids!

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