When I was younger I was under the impression that Luther defiantly nailed a list of 95 problems with the Roman Catholic Church to that door in Wittenberg. Later I learned that this was actually really common practice when posting questions for debate, which is exactly what Luther was doing. He was asking for debate over a single subject. A very Catholic subject.
To be sure within 13 years Luther would be reduced to calling Catholics "papist asses", but you'd never know it from reading the 95 thesis, which contains such statements as:
25. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.But all this is secondary to the idea I've been trying to get into words for the last hour or so: What a sad thing to celebrate.
No matter which side of the reformation you find yourself on, one thing is for certain: We are not a unified church, and I can think of nothing sadder. Celebrating our fragmentation is like celebrating a divorce. Christ says in John 17:
20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."That they may become perfectly one. Perfectly. One cannot argue that Christians today are perfectly one. Perfect is too high a standard. There are major contradictory teachings on issues of great importance. We disagree on things as basic as how one attains salvation! Let alone the role of baptism! Maybe we should not celebrate the existence of such great schisms.
For a millennium after Christ the Church existed as one more or less unified body. Even up until the 16th century there were only two or three major divisions, and they were more similar than not. So whether or not you think the Reformation is still a necessary thing today, this day should be a day that reminds us of our failure to be one. Of our failure to show the world the perfect unity of God's love.
This is a day of sadness. The painful anniversary of a divorce that literally caused wars. It feels odd to see so many of my friends celebrating it.