Today, October 31, 2020, Protestants worldwide celebrate the 503rd anniversary of the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in Wittenberg, Germany. On this occasion, I have the honour to share with you a message of Hope. God gives us this Hope through his Word: “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). The book of Proverbs adds: “For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught” (Proverbs 3:26).
We celebrate this Reformation Commemoration at a time when the world is facing several problems including the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic with its enormous consequences. In our daily lives, we meet people who are worried, who are constantly asking questions about the future, the future of their families, the future of their countries, the future of the whole world. Yes, they are right to worry, but God did not create us to live in uncertainty or inertia when facing problems and difficulties. God gives us Hope and asks us not to fear. For the Psalmist, God is a Good Shepherd who uses his staff to reassure, protect and defend his flock against predators.
In the face of the challenges and problems of the moment, we must reassure ourselves that there is and always will be a solution. We must draw strength and courage from reading the Bible, from prayer, from fighting for the good of one another. Following the example of Martin Luther, who was able to face many difficulties and problems in reforming the Church, we must overcome the fear that overwhelms us and commit ourselves to the good cause.
On this occasion of the commemoration of the Protestant Reformation, I would like to urge you to stand up, not to be afraid, to take up your responsibilities in order to give signs of the Kingdom of God on earth. These signs are love, justice, peace, development and social welfare. Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, reinforces this human responsibility in these words: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”.
I wish you a happy commemoration of the Protestant Reformation. Let us continue to carry the torch for the Word of God that liberates and gives Hope for a better life. May God bless you!
Pastor Samuel Mutabazi
Director of the National Office for Protestant Education (BNEP) in Rwanda and
Member of the international Council of GPENreformation