Today, November 10th, is a big day for the Bible. The Holy Book has sold more than six billion copies. It is 66 books in one, written over 1500 years, penned by over forty authors with the same ghostwriter – God Almighty!
Why is November 10th significant? Let’s begin with today’s birthday boy. Monk, Priest, Professor, Theologian, and Rabble Rouser Martin Luther was born on this day in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany. We commemorated his initiation of the Protestant Reformation 505 years ago on Halloween, the Eve of All Saints Day, when he posted his complaints about the church. Today, on his birthday, we reflect upon another of his actions that changed faith practices. Following his trial for heresy, supporters kidnaped him and hid him in a castle Wartburg, Germany, for his safety and protection. While secluded, he decided to address one of his grievances. Luther complained that the day’s Bible was written only in Latin, a language known locally by only priests and the highly educated. Clergymen were the only people permitted to read and interpret Scripture, and Luther believed all should be able to access the Word in the vernacular of the people. So while sequestered at Warburg Castle, Luther translated the New Testament entirely from the original Greek into the everyday German language. Thanks to Johnannes Gutenburg’s invention of the printing press a couple of decades before Luther’s birth, copies of the German “Luther” Bible quickly became available to the common folk.
It took a few centuries for copies of the Bible to be readily available. Today, we know that Motel 6 leaves the light on for us, but did you know today, November 10th, is the first day you would find a Bible in a drawer of your hotel room? In 1908 the Gideons began distributing free Bibles. The group placed the first Bibles in rooms of the Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana. The Gideons currently distribute over 70 million Bibles annually.
Today, to commemorate this big Bible day, we invite you to open your Holy Scriptures to Luke 21:5-19. In this passage, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple. Please read this message and appreciate that it is written in your own language, allowing you to ponder and interpret its meaning in your life. Then, on Sunday, November 13th, join us for worship at 8:00 AM, 10:15 AM, or 6:00 PM as we gather in communion to reflect upon this message.