Here’s a readers’ theatre conversation between three primary characters from the 16th century: Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Pope Paul III. It was written by James C. Dekker with the intent to promote reconciliation with God among God’s people.
So Close to God; So Far from Each Other
Narrator stands at the podium, perhaps to one side; Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Pope Paul III sit in chairs, prepared for conversation together. The three historical figures are mic’d and dressed plainly and similarly—dark slacks, white shirt. (Alternatively, each person could wear a black robe and a distinctive hat.) They look straight ahead until the narrator finishes.
Narrator: [Reads Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:19-28]
Around 1540 in the history of the church there were three great Christian leaders: Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Pope Paul III. On earth they never met each other. In fact, the Lutherans, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics they represented often struggled violently against each other.
But God rules time from eternity. Part of God’s plan to make all things new is to help us gain perspective on who we are as God’s children. In that light, we are to confess our sins to God and to each other and to forgive each other.
Imagine the place where God is all in all. The time, eternity. Here Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Pope Paul III can worship God together—and speak courteously and graciously to each other.
Martin Luther: Gentlemen, if we were still living on earth, do you know what day it would be?
John Calvin: Brother Martin, you still think rather highly of yourself. I know you’re thinking it’s what some call Reformation Day, and you invented it.
ML: Well, after the year 1517 that was a day to remember, Monsieur Calvin, if I must say so myself. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to write ninety-five points about the Christian faith and open up a debate.
Pope Paul III: Martin, Martin—I’d still prefer to call you “Father Martin,” for you were a priest. But then I must remember that we did remove you from the church. I still regret it. Anyway, Martin, you certainly started a debate. Some have said you divided the church and started wars among Christians….
To view the rest of the reading, click here.
— written by James C. Dekker in Luther, Calvin and the Pope Meet, posted on the Reform Worship website.
For more resources for Reformation Sunday (October 30, 2011) , click on Reformation Day in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.