The world came together to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on October 31 in person and online with a myriad events that were viewed on a number of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in real time.
Presiding ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton in her Reformation message wrote: “On this day, and into God’s future, we are called to be a public witness to how God is continually at work, in and through us, re-forming the body of Christ in a world broken by sin. Thanks be to God.”
She greeted the assembly gathered at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation as well as a worldwide audience watching the live stream, according to Ida Hakkarinen, a member of the steering committee for the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology, who attended the special Reformation service in Washington, D.C.
She said that the Lutheran World Federation hosted a live stream of worship gatherings from six continents in total.
“Whatever the language, the tune “A Mighty Fortress” was identifiable,” writes Hakkarinen. “…Technology made possible this global connectivity just as in the 16th Century Gutenberg’s printing press made possible the rapid reproduction of Luther’s writings, allowing them to spread from “tiny” Wittenberg to larger cities and towns.”
The Lutheran World Federation’s twitter feed is awash with photos from around the world: https://twitter.com/lutheranworld/. The head of communications for the LWF remarked that the group traveled the world in fourteen and a half hours, adding that the Reformation is indeed a global citizen.
“Recent news reports have provided numerous examples of how some people have used the technology of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in attempts to foment divisions among people,” writes Hakkarinen. “The Church needs to be present in the arena of social media to demonstrate God’s grace freely given to all unites people rather than dividing them.”
We leave you with these dramatic photos of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at Wartburg Castle, where Luther translated the New Testament into German. German director Dietmar Thal shot a two-minute short film about the Reformation with actor Markus Seidensticker as Luther and numerous extras. In addition to these moving images, which are projected onto the eastern facade, as the rest of the castle is bathed in a deep red light.
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Photos cc by !Koss via Flickr