SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30: It’s the day of 95 Theses—also known as Reformation Day, or the day Martin Luther took a stand. Almost 500 years ago, according to popular versions of the story, Martin Luther posted on the door of a local church with specific reason: as it was All Saints’ Day, Luther knew the church would be open so that people could view the collection of relics. Perhaps most importantly, the invitation to view relics was only open to those who had paid an indulgence to the Church, with a promise to reduce their time in purgatory. In a “scholarly objection,” Martin Luther posted 95 Theses, thereby alerting his fellow citizens to a long list of abuses he perceived in the church. (Wikipedia has details.)
Among other things: Luther asked why the wealthy pope would use the money of the poor believers for building the basilica of St. Peter, rather than his own money; and how Christians forgot that forgiveness is God’s alone to grant. (Get more insight from Patheos.) Later, this event was widely regarded as a critical spark in the Protestant Reformation. Printing presses greatly aided in the quick spread of the 95 Theses across all of Europe.
Reformation Day is celebrated on both Oct. 31 and on the Sunday closest to that date; it is a civic holiday in Slovenia and some German states. Traditionally, red is the color of the day. If you’re looking for a way for your church to celebrate—and get into the Halloween spirit of dressing up a little early—try a Reformation Day party. (Get party ideas from the Christian Broadcasting Network.) Dress up as John Calvin, John Luther or John Tetzel, the salesman of the indulgences; try some Medieval dancing; or try a game of Charades that involves Reformation Day characters!