Repairs and Reformation
Repairing is something quite usual in Copacabana, the neighborhood where I live. There are old buildings all around; most of them were built around the forties and fifties. So being, people need to repair them frequently: electric system, pipe system, to make a new room in the apartment, etc. Sometimes they need to change the architecture that is old to a more contemporary style. As I’m writing this I can hear two or three different saws and some hammers. This week there are three buildings under repair in my street.
Copacabana is well known worldwide. You can see people from all over the world as you walk down the streets. They come here because they want to know what is so special about it and want to feel the tropical weather we have here. I don’t know if you have ever come to Rio de Janeiro, but I think one would never think about old buildings when hearing about Copacabana. Of course, the hotels, where the tourists stay, are nice and new. But most buildings where most people live, the residents, not the tourists, are old. They need repairs in order to be livable.
Something like that happened with the Church at the time of Martin Luther with the Protestant Reformation, in the 16th century. It appeared to be a great institution, beautiful, powerful and strong, but it was weak on the inside. It needed repairs in order to be what it was supposed to be: the place where Jesus is presented as our Lord and Savior. Luther wanted to make things right by using the Scriptures, the Architect’s Guide Book.
Repairs are really disturbing. I can tell you that. There are some days it is really difficult to get focused on my work with all that breaking, sawing and building going on. I wish they would stop it. But they can’t. They need to do that in order to improve the place where they are living in.
Many people in Luther’s time wished that he hadn’t started to repair what was wrong in the Church. It would cause too much trouble. It was comfortable the way it was, at least for some people. But it was necessary. They needed to listen to the true message of Jesus Christ and salvation by faith instead of the religion of self-justification that had invaded the Church.
The need for repairing also involves our lives. We constantly need to think about what we are doing: what we believe, the way we behave, how we treat other people, our commitment to work. Repairing what is wrong is an essential part of self-improvement. With God is just a little different though: through His Word He gives us the courage to examine what is wrong in our life and the strength to correct it.
A good way to start repairing our lives might be celebrating the right event on the 31st: The Protestant Reformation, not Halloween. You have far more benefits from the first one. Like freely talking about faith and life.
Text by Rev. Paulo Samuel Albrecht
“Cristo Redentor” Lutheran Congregation
Zona Sul - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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