“Martin and Katie’s Unexpected Adventure” (skit for Reformation)

St. James Lutheran Church – Gettysburg, PA
Reformation Day – 2017 (a skit for Reformation)

Mike. (Just beginning his sermon): “Well, today is a special day as we celebrate the 500 anniversary of the . . . (there is pounding at the door of the worship space. The door opens and a woman slowly peeks inside.)

Katie: Did I hear you say “this is a special day?” But you didn’t say why?

Mike: Because you interrupted me! Who are you? I’m trying to preach!

Katie: Well, hello! (ignoring the pastor and looking out at the crowd) It’s so nice to see so many of you! I’m so excited to be here! I’ve heard so many awesome things about this congregation and it’s a thrill for me to finally visit a Lutheran Church.

In fact, my last name is Luther. Katie Luther I am. Wife of Martin Luther, who 500 years ago nailed 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Church Door (sort of like the doors on your church) and accidentally got this whole Lutheran “thing” going.
I thought Martin would come out with me, but he’s been hiding. You see
he’s absolutely terrified of something that happened on our plane ride here. But I’ll tell you about that in a moment.

First, let’s get him out here. Please shout with me, “Come out Martin!” Ready? 1, 2, 3 ….. “Come out Martin!”
(Martin pokes head in from behind the door, timidly)

Katie: My goodness (talking to congregation), do you know what really scares my husband Martin? LIGHTNING. Martin is terrified of lightning and it’s quite a story as to why. But I want Martin to tell you all about it.
{Martin joins Katie out front.}

Martin: Hi (timidly)! Sorry it’s taken me a second to muster up my courage. But you see, as we were landing here at the Gettysburg Airport, there were some horrible lightning strikes in the air around us and I was terrified.
Katie: Martin,why don’t you tell them your lightning story really, really quickly. After all, it’s sort of because of that lightning story that all of us are here today.

Martin: It all began one day when I was walking to school.

Katie: Get to the point, Martin.

Martin: Patience my sweetie. I will. I was walking to school one day
when black clouds, super-duper black clouds rolled in. And all of a sudden ….

Katie: BOOM!!!!!

Martin: And even worse …..

Katie: FLASH!!!!!

Martin: Lightning was striking all around me. To my left, to my right,
in front of me, behind me. It was horrible! Lightning, lightning, lightning. But I was stuck out in the road. There wasn’t any shelter anywhere.

Katie: Bad enough, right? But back in our day, there was something that scared
Martin even more than lightning.

Martin: Sad and scary, but true! Here at church, I know you celebrate God’s love. But back in my day, when I was growing up, I didn’t think that God loved me. I thought God hated me. I thought God was angry with me!

Katie: So when Martin saw all the lightning ….

Martin: I naturally thought that God was out to get me. I know, that
might seem crazy to you. But back in my day, that’s what a lot of us thought. That God was the Big Bad Guy with rules. We needed to follow all of God’s rules–or else! But I knew that no matter how hard I tried to obey all God’s rules, I would break some every day.
But God was a Rule Maker and I was a Ruler Breaker and I knew I was in for trouble!

Katie: So tell them what you did!

Martin: Well, right there and then, in the middle of that road, with lightning to my left, lightning to my right, lightning in front of me, and lightning behind me, I made a deal. I said a prayer. “Dear St. Anne” –I was too afraid to pray to God directly so I prayed to one of the saints I had heard about–St.Anne–if you help me make it through this lightning storm alive, I’ll go to monk school.” Actually, I agreed to go to the monastery. “Monastery” is the place where the monks live.

Katie: I didn’t know Martin at that time, and I’m glad, because he sure was
different from the Martin I’ve grown to love.

Martin: You’re right Katie, but even at the monastery, I was miserable! I thought that the more chores I did, the more work I did, the more prayers I said, the more I thought I might have a chance at God loving me. How silly and sad I was back then!

Katie: Those were crazy times! There were a lot of things we didn’t know. We thought God was out to get us instead of love us.

Martin: But God was good to us, wasn’t God, Katie? I’ll never forget how I heard the incredible good news that changed my life. It was even more startling than that lightning-but in a wonderful way.

Katie: (noticing Martin has a big jar under his arms) Martin, what are you carrying in that jar? Are those marbles?

Martin: No Katie. Too soft for marbles. Actually Pastor Andrew gave these to me when I came in. He told me they were a gift and that we might like to try them. They’re a type of candy of which he is very fond.
Martin: Should we try them?

Katie: OK! (Martin and Katie each try a Reeses.)

Martin: Wow, these are chewy.

Katie: How many of these “Reeses” did Pastor Andrew give you, Martin?

Martin: Ninety-five!

Katie: Ha Ha. Ninety-five Reeses? Rhymes with 95 Theses! Sounds like Pastor Andrew knew a little bit about the next part of your story, husband Martin. And you better get a move-on to tell it to these fine people, so they can enjoy the rest of worship. Tell them about the 95 Reeses-I mean 95 Theses!

Martin: For a long time my life wasn’t sweet at all like this candy. My life was tough and scary. I thought God was less interested in loving us and more interested in judging us. At the monastery, I tried to do as many chores as I could, pray as much as I could, confess as much as I could, not because I loved God, but because I feared him.

Katie: But that all changed when you finally started reading and teaching the Bible.
Katie: At the monastery, it was terrific in that you got to learn how to read the Hebrew and Greek languages so you could start reading the Bible for yourself. Soon your superiors asked you to start teaching Bible classes to others at a new university called Wittenberg.

Martin: And that’s when my world changed! When I was digging into the
Bible, I learned so much more about the truth of God’s wonderful love.

Katie: Tell them what you discovered Martin!

Martin: Well, I discovered that so many parts of the Bible talked about God’s love as a gracious gift. God loves us because God made us. And yes, there are times when we sin. But God loves us so much that God was willing to have his son, Jesus, die, an act of courage and sacrifice that triumphs over sin and allows God’s love to claim us forever. It’s great news!

Katie: Can you understand what this discovery meant for Martin, my good friends of St. James?

Martin: Instead of worrying every day, I got to celebrate every day. Instead of
trying to work so hard out of fear, I got to help people out of love.

Katie: You were certainly riding high for a while, but then “he” showed up. I’m
not talking about Darth Vader from Star Wars. I’m not talking about
Voldemort from Harry Potter, either. I’m talking about a real person who really
lived, just like us. His name was Jonathan Tetzel.

Martin: Mr. Pretzel-I mean Tetzel–had an incredible job, an unbelievable
mission. He was trying to raise a bunch of money for the church in Rome. And they decided to play upon people’s fears!

Katie: Tetzel kept talking about hell and this place sort of like hell called “purgatory.” Before anyone got to go to heaven, you had to pay your dues in purgatory. Tetzel preached this even though the Bible doesn’t talk about it. So everyone was worried.

Martin: But Tetzel had an offer. If you paid money, he said, you could buy an
indulgence. An indulgence kept you out of purgatory, he said. An indulgence
could actually get your dead loved ones out of purgatory.

Katie: Tetzel made up a little song that he used to explain his offer. “When a
coin in the indulgence box rings, a soul from purgatory springs!”

Martin: But the problem was I knew none of it was true! I had been
reading the Bible, so I knew it didn’t talk about purgatory. I knew that Jesus died for our sins. I knew we were already forgiven. I knew that Jesus didn’t ask us for money. I knew Jesus saved us already because He loves us!

Katie: But the people back in our Germany didn’t know the Good News. So
many of them bought the indulgences. And it was horrible because many of them
were poor. So instead of buying enough food for their kids, they used their
money to buy these worthless indulgences.

Martin: It made me so mad!

Katie: So that’s when Martin started writing! Back in our day, we didn’t have your fancy smart phones and Facebook. If you wanted to let people know something, you could post it on the door. The Church Door.

Martin: So I went to the Wittenberg Church Door and posted all the reasons
why I thought Mr. Tetzel was wrong! I didn’t want anyone to think they had to buy God’s love instead of just enjoying it.

Martin: Let me tell you what happened next. Oh, but wait! Mr. Braband gave me an interesting snack. (Katie lifts up a container). Mr. Braband gave me a kind of worm I’ve never seen before. A worm he promises we will think is yummy. He calls them “gummy worms.” Let’s try one!
Whoa!!!!! These worms are delicious!

Katie: Martin, dear, I’ve just realized something. I think Mr. Braband is giving us a clue to what to say next.

Martin: What do you mean?

Katie: Well, do you remember when Pastor Andrew gave us the 95 Reeses right before we explained your 95 Theses?

Martin: Sure.

Katie: Well, I wonder if Mr. Braband is telling us through his gift that he wants us to talk about your “Diet of Worms.”

Martin: Aha!! Let me tell you all about my Diet —of —- Worms!

Katie: Do you believe him? Do you believe Martin was dedicated, driven to, and
known all over our land for his Diet … of ….. Worms? Well, you should!
Because it’s true!

Martin: It’s true indeed, but NOT because of the Diet of Worms you’re thinking
about.. I never ate a bunch of creepy crawlies. Back in my day, there was a
town in Germany called Worms.

Katie: And a “diet” is not only a time when you try to eat less. A “diet” can amean a special meeting. A gathering of national leaders. Because of Martin’s
controversial teaching, he was ordered to attend the Diet of Worms.

Martin: Those 95 Theses got me in trouble! The pope ordered me to come to this special hearing where I would have to defend myself. All the big-wigs were there, even the Holy Roman Emperor himself!

Katie: At this really special meeting of many of Germany’s leaders, this Diet in
Worms, Germany, they lined up all of Martin’s writings. Over the years, Martin
had written not only the 95 Theses, but many other articles and sermons
explaining the truth about God’s love and why, in his opinion, some leaders were
taking advantage of the common people’s lack of education.

Martin: Yes. They had all my books lined up. And they told me that I had to
“recant,” that means “take it back.”
Martin: But I knew I wasn’t wrong.

Katie: So here’s what Martin decided to do.

Martin: I was so scared. But Katie, you’re right. In the end, I just couldn’t take back what I thought was true about God’s love. So when they asked me the final time if I would recant, I said, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason, I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand. God help me. Amen.”

Katie: “Here I Stand.” We were so proud of you taking a stand like that, Martin.

Martin: But the trouble didn’t end right away, did it, my love?

Katie: N0000, my dear Martin. We were so scared about you arriving home safely. Rumor had it Martin would not make it back to Wittenberg alive.

Martin: It indeed was a crazy horse ride home. When the sun was going down one night I was along a lonely part of the road and I started to hear some creaking from the trees. All of a sudden some masked men rode out from the trees carrying torches. With terrifying speed, they cut right in front of me. I was really scared! I thought I was in trouble for sure. But then one of them whispered to me, “Martin, don’t be afraid! We’ve come to help you. But we’ve got to make it look like someone kidnapped you.” So that’s what they did. They made a friendly kidnapping. And instead of hurting me, they took me to the Wartburg Castle.
Martin: I ended up staying about a full year. I was safe but in order to keep my identity secret, I grew my hair longer than usual, and grew a beard. My beard was a lot longer than Pastor Andrew’s. Then I began to translate the Bible into German.

Katie: Today, we take our Bibles for granted. But, back then, your translation
was a HUGE gift, Martin. I’m so proud of you, honey.
Katie: The point Martin and I are trying to make is that we were taught to think God was very cold and life was nothing but following the rules. But then we learned that God’s life is so beautiful. Every day is like a thank-you to God for all his love and gifts, to take a stand where ever God puts us and do our best.

Martin: Good people of St. James, thank you for letting us share this time with you!!

Katie: It was a pleasure to STAND here in front of you and share with
you our story.

Martin: But each of YOU has a terrific story too. And with God’s help, you TOO
will be able to take the STANDS you need to enjoy life and make a difference for
God’s kingdom too.
Martin & Katie: Guten tag! May God bless you.
(M and L wave and leave)

Mike: Wow! I don’t think there is anything more to say, but Amen!


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