‘Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda?’
“The Reformed Church always has to be reforming”
It is not often that I will start my letter with a Latin phrase but this month is an exception. It seems particularly pertinent as we value our past and look forward to the future, and we are reminded that nothing stands still. Autumn is often a time of reflection and within the Reformed Tradition many churches set aside time in October to reflect on how God was calling them to go forward into the future as well as giving thanks for what had gone before.
In Reformed theology, we affirm and embody characteristics that distinguish how we see our place in God’s world. A deep allegiance to the authority of the Bible as God’s word was central to the development of the 16th century Protestant Reformation and today we still recognise that authority; the word of God in the Bible discerned under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are still listening for God speaking to us today.
We are not called to preserve everything as it has always been, nor are we to change for change sake but we are all called to submit our own traditions and ambitions to constant reformation by the Spirit as we live as followers of Jesus Christ in ever changing cultures and ever changing times. New developments present new opportunities as well as new challenges.
Moreover we recognise that God, Creator Redeemer and Sustainer, lovingly claims this whole world as God’s own. That recognition energizes our carrying out of our calling in God’s mission (Mathew 28:18-20). It encourages us to develop our intellect and skills in all areas of life to be a light in a dark world (Matthew 5:16). We are called to witness to God’s love and wonderful gift of Grace in ways that make connections with the wider community, to share the Good News through both action and words, and to do so creatively. Christian faith is responding to God’s call to meet spiritual needs and foster justice for all in the transformation of the world through the love of Jesus Christ. This can be challenging, but it is our calling and it is exciting too. Please pray that we may all hear God’s calling and take encouragement that God has already prepared us for what we are called to do.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT): All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to help us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.