By Laila Barr

Last Tuesday, kids of all ages donned their costumes, grabbed empty pillowcases and plastic pumpkins, and braved the cold to go trick-or-treating. A little shivering, persistence, and a few magic words, and voila: you score enough candy to keep your dentist in business till next Halloween. It’s a pretty sweet deal, really.

Last Tuesday was also the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther shared some radical ideas with the world – 95 of them, to be exact. One of his main points was that it’s not what we do that makes us right with God – instead, we are already made right with God by what God has done.  There’s nothing that you need to do to earn God’s love, and there’s nothing you can possibly do to lose it. You are a beloved child of God, just as you are right now (yes, now. As you read this.) Forgiven and freed from your past to live into your future, one day at a time. Forgiven and freed to love your neighbor with the particular gifts and skills God knit into your very being.  All as a gift.

That, friends, is a pretty sweet deal. Actually – it’s not a deal at all. No deal, just gift. No, “God loves you…if and when.” Simply, “God loves you.”

Fueled by this truth, we live into our call to love God, love ourselves, and love our neighbors as ourselves to the best of our ability. We live into our call to keep reforming, keep listening for God’s guidance, keep fessing up when we mess up, keep making amends, keep loving more deeply and loving more freely.

Fueled by the gifts of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, we are freed to live a reformed and reforming life, one moment at a time.

Learn more about the beginning of the Reformation here: