Advertisements

Tag Archives: Martin Luther

Wordless Wednesday

Advertisements

October 31–Reformation Day

From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:

On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk posted ninety-five statements for discussion on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Martin Luther hoped that posting his theses would bring about an academic debate regarding repentance, the sale of indulgences, and other matters of concern within the Roman Catholic Church. However, Rome eventually excommunicated Luther, judging him to be a heretic. Luther’s reforms, centered on the teaching that a believer is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, sparked religious reforms not only in the German states but also in many European countries. In 1667, Elector John George II of Saxony standardized the custom of observing Luther’s October 31 posting of the Ninety-five Theses.

Learning About the Reformation

Every year that we’ve been homeschooling, we’ve had some sort of special lesson on Reformation Day. It usually involved reading a book about Martin Luther and doing a craft (often some kind of Luther’s Seal). I realized this year, though, that while the children know a lot about Martin Luther’s corner of the Reformation (of course), they don’t know much about the rest of what was going on in the Church. So, I’ve decided that this year, throughout the month of October, we’re going to replace our regular religion lessons with a special unit on the Reformation, as well as some general Lutheran history!

I started by replacing our Olympics “Special Event Wall” with one on the Reformation. The central focus of the wall is a “Reformation Era Timeline” I picked up at CPH. While the focus of this timeline is the Lutheran Reformation (naturally), other world and Reformation events are included on it, and I really like having a visual representation of just how much was going on in Europe at that time, from exploring the New World to the creation of famous works of art and literature. I added the “Solas” to the wall, as well as a list of key reformers, a map of Europe with key Reformation countries highlighted, a copy of Luther’s seal, and the LCMS seal. We’ll also be adding some things to the wall as the month goes on.

There are 23 school days in October this year, including five Wednesdays, which culminate on Reformation Day itself. I’ve planned something special for each of those Wednesdays, having each Wednesday be a special craft day:

  • Personal Coat of Arms
  • Stained “Glass”
  • Illuminated Letters/Scribe for a Day
  • Reformation Day Banner (to be used in the schoolroom for occasions such as future Reformation Days and Pentecost)
  • Tissue Paper Luther’s Seal

There are a few books I’ll be reading aloud, either in part or whole:

And book basket selections from the “Hero of Faith” series for the children to choose from:

Plus a few other book basket choices:

The bulk of our lessons will come in the form of a lapbook (actually several lapbooks)…our first ever! We’ll be learning the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the Reformation while we make these books. We’ll focus on seven reformers (John Wycliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, John Calvin, and John Knox), who will each have a mini-unit and lapbook dedicated to him.

We’ll also learn about seven rulers (Charles V, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor, Philip II, Elizabeth I, and Mary Queen of Scots) who were either supporters or opponents of the Reformation. Instead of a lapbook, the rulers will each have a dedicated notebooking sheet.

Over the course of the month, we’ll make a lapbook that provides an overview of the Reformation, including where each of the rulers fits, and their relationships to the reformers, where applicable.

Since Ladybug is too young for a lot of the lapbook activities, I got her The Story of Martin Luther Activity Book to color in while Turkey and Bunny complete their books. It’s technically a preschool book, but I thought she’d have fun doing the sticker activities, and it will give her something of her own to work on, so she doesn’t feel left out…very important for a little girl who has two older siblings who “get to have all the fun!”

And field trips are a must. We’ll be visiting the Saxon Lutheran Memorial and attending a Bach at the Sem concert, where “Ein Feste Burg” will be performed. I don’t think we’re going to visit the International Center to see the Concordia Historical Institute Museum, but it has been a few years since we’ve been there, so we’ll see. We’re also going to be having a special Reformation Family Night at church, which, while not technically a field trip, should help reinforce some of the things we’ve been learning at home, and maybe even teach us some new things!

Music is a huge part of the Lutheran church (just ask the “fifth evangelist, J.S. Bach!), so we’ll be listening to some special selections throughout the month. We have both the Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth and the Heirs of the Reformation collections from CPH. We’ll also be listening to various works by Bach…I’ll let Ryan pick which ones. To reinforce what we’ve learned in Luther’s Small Catechism, we’ll also be playing our copy of Sing the Faith.

Our children are a little too young for these kind of strategy games, but I do have some good ideas for games that have a Reformation-era or theological feel. I’m looking forward to future game nights in keeping with this theme!

I’m very excited to get started on this, and really dive into church, and Lutheran, history. It should be a fun month!

February 18–Martin Luther, Doctor and Confessor

From the LCMS website:

Martin Luther, born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, initially began studies leading toward a degree in law. However, after a close encounter with death, he switched to the study of theology, entered an Augustinian monastery, was ordained a priest in 1505, and received a doctorate in theology in 1512. As a professor at the newly-established University of Wittenberg, his scriptural studies led him to question many of the church’s teachings and practices, especially the selling of indulgences. His refusal to back down from his convictions resulted in his excommunication in 1521. Following a period of seclusion at the Wartburg castle, Luther returned to Wittenberg, where he spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching, translating the Scriptures, and writing hymns and numerous theological treatises. He is remembered and honored for his lifelong emphasis on the biblical truth that for Christ’s sake God declares us righteous by grace through faith alone. He died on February 18, 1546, while visiting the town of his birth. 

Quote of the Day

Whenever God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read, or meditated upon, then the person, day, and work are sanctified. This is not because of the outward work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Martin Luther in the Large Catechism

October 31–Reformation Day

From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:

On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk posted ninety-five statements for discussion on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Martin Luther hoped that posting his theses would bring about an academic debate regarding repentance, the sale of indulgences, and other matters of concern within the Roman Catholic Church. However, Rome eventually excommunicated Luther, judging him to be a heretic. Luther’s reforms, centered on the teaching that a believer is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, sparked religious reforms not only in the German states but also in many European countries. In 1667, Elector John George II of Saxony standardized the custom of observing Luther’s October 31 posting of the Ninety-five Theses.

Christmas School–Day Ten

Today in school, our focus was on a single hymn–“From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.” I love this Christmas hymn, mostly because I know the story of how Martin Luther wrote it for his children. I think it is amazingly cool that he had the ability to do that for his family, and even cooler that generations of believers have also gotten to benefit from his talents. Plus, you have to love any hymn that has 15 verses!

We started by reading the children’s storybook of the same name. Sadly, this book appears to be out of print, but it is a fantastic resource to have. There is a brief summary of why Martin Luther wrote the hymn, and how it was originally sung, on the front jacket flap, and then the words from Luke from where the hymn’s stanzas come. The rest of the book is only the words to the hymn, along with illustrations to accompany each verse.

After we had read through the whole book, we then listened to all 15 verses of the hymn. The whole thing is available in the Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth CD set. I have used this set many times in school, for Reformation, (“A Mighty Fortress” can be heard in both German and English), Advent, (the only recording we have of our favorite Advent hymn, “Savior of the Nations Come), Christmas, and liturgical hymns. This set, along with the Heirs of the Reformation CD set, are great resources to have at home if you’re interested in good Lutheran hymnody, and each comes with a booklet that has additional information on each hymn.

Our craft for the day, since we had heard so much about angels in the hymn, were paper plate angels. These proved to be a little trickier than I thought they would be, I guess because there were no flat surfaces to work with, so Turkey and Bunny needed a little help to get them done. Even so, they really liked making them, and were quick to give them names (Turkey named his St. Michael) and play with them. I like crafts that have some (limited) play value, instead of having everything just hang on the wall–the only problem with playing with them is that they also have limited durability!

Quote of the Day

Since Your Majesty and your lordships want a simple, clear and true answer, I will give it. Unless I am convinced by the teachings of Holy Scripture or by sound reasoning–for I do not believe either the pope or councils alone, since they have often made mistakes and have even said the exact opposite about the same point–I am tied by the Scriptures I have quoted and by my conscience. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither safe nor right. Here I stand. God help me! Amen. Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, April 18, 1521

Hero Tales

Sonlight used to include a book in Core K called Hero Tales Volume One by Dave and Neta Jackson. Unfortunately, they swapped it out for something else before I had a chance to order, so I haven’t actually used the book in school. I *have* looked through it, though, and I think it’s a really cool idea (and from what I’ve seen, I would have preferred it way over its Sonlight replacement, I Heard Good News Today, by Cornelia Lehn, which we could just *not* get into). There are four volumes in the Hero Tales series, and each one has information on 15 heroes of the faith. There is a short biography on each, and then three short stories that recall accounts from specific life events. Volume One included stories about Martin Luther, D.L. Moody and John Wesley, among others.

This book got me thinking–wouldn’t it be great if there was a book that followed a similar format, but focused on Lutheran heroes of the faith? Sure we all know about Martin Luther, but what about the others? I know there must be someone out there qualified to write such a book (I also know that someone sure isn’t me!).

Every morning in school, we have calendar time, and we always check out our CPH church year calendar to see if there are any special commemorations that day. I can tell the children who the Biblical commemorations are for (if they don’t already know), and I can usually remember the major early church fathers, but I have to admit, I’m a little cloudy on some of the major players in Lutheran history. Johannes Bugenhagen? Fun to say, but I had to do some digging to find out who he actually was. And there are over 15 commemorations for key players in Lutheran history alone. That’s quite a lot of subject material.

Sure, I can (and often do) research the names on the calendar, but wouldn’t be great if there was a book out there, written on a middle to upper elementary school level, that could introduce our children to the men (and women–let’s not forget Katie Luther!) who shaped our church into what it is today? I could see it being useful in so many settings–Lutheran Day Schools, Confirmation classes, homeschools–so many opportunities for learning our history. I think it would be great to have a book that introduces children (and their families) to these people who may be unfamiliar, and shares how God used them to reform, share His Word, and shape, even if unknowingly, the denomination that we have today!

Hymn of the Day–“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”

A mighty fortress is our God,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need
That hath us now o’er taken.
The old evil foe
Now means deadly woe;
Deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight;
On earth is not his equal.  Lutheran Service Book #656

Happy Reformation Day!

%d bloggers like this: