31 October – Commemoration of the Reformation

Here are the resources you need for the Commemoration of the Reformation which may be observed on the last Sunday in October. Please feel free to choose what is suitable for your congregation’s needs. You will notice that the orders of service are available in different formats: choose the “pdf” format if you want something that is ready to print and photocopy, the “doc” or “rtf” format if you wish to change the formatting yourself or the “ppt” format if you use PowerPoint.


The colour for the day is red, the colour of fire and the Spirit.

A very striking effect can be gained if the church is decorated in red on this day. Here are some suggestions:
*    Use red flowers in the sanctuary (or red and white, white depicting the pure word of God)
*    Decorate the church with red streamers
*    Display a red drape with the words SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, each word on a separate card and displayed appropriately on the drape. A large special Bible and red (or red and white) flowers could be added.
*    Display a pair of doors made of wood or thick cardboard, in an appropriate size to fit the display area, with a scroll representing the 95 theses pinned (or nailed) on. This could be finished with a red drape and red (or red and white) flowers, and a card reading ‘We hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. (Romans 3:28)’.
*    Display a red drape, a card with ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith (Romans 1:16)’, a Bible, red (or red and white) flowers, a candelabra with red candles.
*    Candles in the church are usually white. This is said to be because they symbolise Christ. However, on this occasion the candles on the altar and in the sanctuary could be red, to symbolise the fire of the Spirit.

Pictures or visual symbols could be displayed on banners or the overhead screen during the readings.

In the past, Lutherans have often placed a large Bible in the centre of the altar. In many ways this was appropriate, as the sacrament of holy communion was rarely celebrated. However, if the sacrament is celebrated, the vessels for the eucharist should be placed in the centre of the altar. In fact, the proper place for the Bible is on the lectern, where it is to be used. However, for services of the word, and perhaps for days of special focus on the Bible, such as Reformation Day, the Bible may be placed open on the altar to show the special emphasis of the service.

Suitable symbols for the day are:

  • Luther’s coat of arms (Luther’s rose)
  • Symbols of the word
    eg    Symbol for St Paul of the open Bible over a sword pointing downwards
    Symbol of the open Bible and the lamp of knowledge burning on it
    The ark or ship of the church


  • Altar colour: Red
  • Bible readings:
    FIRST READING Jeremiah 31:31-34 The Lord will write his law on our hearts
    PSALM Psalm 46 *For musical settings of this Psalm, please see the song suggestions below*
    SECOND READING Romans 3:19-28 Justification by faith
    GOSPEL John 8:31-36 “In my word, you will know the truth”
  • Sermons:
    Lay-readers please note: the linked sermons have not been edited for general use. As part of your preparations, keep in mind that they have been written for specific people in a specific context, and for this reason the issues they address or the examples they use may not be entirely suitable for people in your congregation. If you feel this is the case, you may need to make minor adjustments or find another sermon

    Based on gospel: Pr Simon Cooper ; edited for lay reading sermon – john 8v31-36 – year a – reformationPr Tim StringerPr Peter Ghalayini ; edited for lay reading sermon -reformation – october 2015 ; NEW Pr Andrew Brook ; NEW edited for lay reading sermon-john-8-31-36-years-abc-reformation
    Based on Romans reading: NEW Pr Roger Atze
    Based on Luther’s Rose: Pr Vince Gerhardy
  • Orders of service:
    Reformation Sunday Word & Prayer ( pdf / doc / ppt )
    Service orders with holy communion
    Service with communion (page 6) (pdf / doc / ppt)
    Alternative form A (page 58) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
    Sing the Feast (Chataway) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
    Simplified Spoken (pdf / doc/ ppt)
    Service with Five Songs of Faith (pdf / rtf/ ppt)
  • Opening sentences:
    I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts;
    and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer 31:33 NRSV)OR
    For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
    they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Rom 3:22b-24 NRSV)OR
    Jesus said: ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
    and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ (John 8:31,32 NRSV)
  • Prayer of the Day (Collect): Choose one of the following
    Almighty and eternal God,
    you mercifully give the light of the gospel
    to your church.
    Keep us in sound teaching
    that we may steadfastly believe
    and worthily follow
    your saving word,
    and finally by its holy comfort
    depart in peace and joy;
    through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.

    OR, modernised traditional
    Almighty and eternal God,
    in mercy you give the light of your gospel
    to your church.
    Keep us in sound teaching,
    so that we may firmly believe
    and faithfully follow
    your saving word,
    and finally, with its holy comfort,
    die in peace and joy.
    We ask this through your Son,
    Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.

    OR, alternative
    Lord God,
    you have given all holy Scriptures for our learning.
    Lead us to hear them,
    read, note, learn, and inwardly digest them.
    Encourage and support us by your holy word,
    so that we may always hold onto
    the joyful hope of eternal life,
    which you have given us
    in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
    For he lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.

  • Prayer after the gospel
    This is the gospel of the Lord.
    Praise to you, O Christ.
    Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of your word.
    Keep us faithful to your word,
    so that we may know the truth,
    and the freedom it brings.
  • Offering prayer
    Heavenly Father,
    there is nothing that we could offer to you
    as a sacrifice for our sin.
    Yet in your great love,
    you have offered up your own Son,
    so that through him we may be put right with you.
    Accept the gifts we offer here today,
    as mere tokens of our gratitude
    for the great gift of salvation
    which you have given to us.
  • Prayer of the Church/ General Prayer: Prayer of the Church- Reformation
  • Resources for services with Holy Communion
    It is indeed right and good,
    Lord God, holy Father,
    that we should at all times and in all places
    give thanks to you,
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    (On this day)*
    he overcame death by his resurrection
    and opened up for us
    the way to eternal life with you.
    And so, with angels and archangels,
    and with all the company of heaven,
    we adore and praise your glorious name:
    * The words ‘on this day’ are used only on Sundays. 

    Jesus says: ‘I am the bread of life.
    Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
    and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’
    (Thanks be to God.)
    Come, everything is ready.OR
    Jesus says: ‘My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.
    Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me, and I in them.’
    (Thanks be to God.)
    Come, everything is ready.OR
    This cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks
    is a communion in the blood of Christ.
    This bread that we break
    is a communion in the body of Christ.
    (Thanks be to God.)
    Come, everything is ready.PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
    The following prayer may be used:

    Lord God,
    you constantly renew your church
    through the pure preaching of your word
    and the right administration of your sacraments.
    Renew our hearts,
    so that we may be strong in faith towards you
    and eager in good works towards all people.
    We ask this through your Son,
    Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.


  • Visual images for the day: His Word in Pictures – Romans reading , His Word in Pictures – Gospel reading, NEW! PPT background for Reformation , NEW His Word in Pictures – Psalm 46
  • Song/Hymn suggestions: * =  Modernised version available (please click here to go to the Modernised hymns page) ;G3, G4 . . . =  Guitar chords available in the Music Package 3, 4 . . .; GS =  Guitar chords in the Supplement to LH
    First reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

    462    God of mercy, God of grace G6 (see TIS 452)
    184    Love is the law (Spring follows winter)
    102    Praise to the living God
    428    Help us, O Lord, to learn
    452    God of mercy, God of graceSecond reading: Romans 3:19-28

    83    Beneath the cross of Jesus
    173    Before the throne of God above
    270    The law of God is good and wise G3
    312    In Thee alone, O Christ, my Lord
    322    Dear Christians, one and all rejoice* G3 (see TIS 196)
    323    Blessed are the sons of God* G4
    324    Salvation unto us has come* G5 (see TIS 195)
    325    Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat
    327    Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness* G3
    330    Rock of ages G6
    331    My hope is built on nothing less*
    332    Thy works, not mine, O Christ*
    411    If God be my defender* G3
    851    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
    852    God loved the world so that he gave G5
    871    My heart is filled with faith and wonder
    130    I am covered over
    131    Amazing grace
    329    This kingdom
    345    Nothing but the blood of Jesus
    129    Amazing grace
    195    Salvation now to us has come
    196    Dear Christians, one and all rejoice
    213    Father, whose everlasting love
    222    Rock of ages

    Gospel: John 8:31-36

    4    Once He came in blessing* G4 (see TIS 197)
    197    Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word* G5 (see TIS 436)
    379    Lord of creation, to Thee be all praise G6 (see TIS 626)
    883    There’s a gladness in my heart
    32    Thou wilt rest him in perfect peace
    50    I will sing
    67    Let your word fill my days
    156    He sets us free
    217    Shine, Jesus, shine
    232    He set me free (There’s a gladness in my heart)
    332    We are sorry
    197    God’s Son came to bless us
    261    Lord, you are the light of life to me
    436    Lord, keep us steadfast in your word
    626    Lord of creation, to you be all praise
    675    Lord, the light of your love shining

    The following hymns and songs are generally suitable for this day:
    185    Sun of righteousness divine* G3
    188    Built on a rock, the Church doth stand* G4
    191    The Church’s one foundation (see also TIS 457)
    193    Jesus, with Thy church abide* G9 (alt tune 82, G5)
    195    A mighty fortress is our God* G3 (see TIS 103)
    196    Look down, O Lord, from heaven behold
    198    Let us, O Father, never be confounded G6
    199    Christ, Thou strong guardian* G9
    200    Thou little flock, be not dismayed
    258    O God our Lord, Thy holy Word G9 (alt tune 384, G9)
    260    Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide* G3
    266    God’s Word is our great heritage* G3
    328    Now I have found for my salvation
    329    By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless
    804    The church of Christ in every age G5
    822    God has spoken by his prophets G6
    823    Your strong word G5
    824    Your word O Lord is gentle dew G7
    39    My word is like the snow and rain
    67    Let your word fill my days
    207    As we gather here
    246    Thy word is a lamp
    337    The grass withers
    103    A mighty fortress is our God
    158    God has spoken by his prophets
    427    Lord, your word abiding
    431    Thanks to God whose word was spoken
    457    The Church’s one foundation

    PSALM 46
    TIS 28, God is our strength and refuge, is a paraphrase of the psalm. AT 526, God is our shelter and strength is also a paraphrase of Psalm 46.

    The following songs and hymns have some basis in Psalm 46 – although none of them are actually paraphrases of the psalm itself.
    195    A mighty fortress* (* modernised version available) G3
    854    Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side
    9    Be still and know that I am God  As the reader speaks the verses of Psalm 46, the congregation may respond after every few verses with the singing of the first verse of ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (LHS 885, ATN 9).
    311    Be still and know that I am God  Most appropriate for an opening song.
    339    In you, O Lord, I found refuge
    458    God is our refuge and strength
    103    A mighty fortress

    The following paraphrase of Psalm 46, by David Schütz, may be sung to the tune of ‘A mighty fortress’ (LH 195, TIS 103). If reproducing this version, please put ‘Words (c) David Schütz’ at the beginning or the end of the psalm.

    God is our refuge and our strength
    a present help in trouble.
    And so we will not be afraid,
    though all the earth may tremble.
    Though mountains may fall,
    though seas roar and foam,
    though all the earth quakes,
    still we are not afraid.
    The Lord of hosts is with us!

    A flowing river brings great joy
    throughout God’s holy city,
    for God himself is always there,
    and it will not be shaken.
    God’s help comes at dawn,
    the nations will roar,
    the kingdoms will fall,
    his voice will melt the earth.
    The Lord of hosts is with us!

    O come and see the fearsome things
    the Lord has made to happen.
    He makes wars cease; he shatters shields;
    he breaks the spears and arrows.
    ‘Now be still, and know
    that I am your God.
    Throughout all the earth,
    I am exalted high!’
    The Lord of hosts is with us!

    OR, the following paraphrase by David Schütz may be sung to the tune of ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (LHS 885, ATN 9). If reproducing this version, please put ‘Words (c) David Schütz’ at the beginning or the end of the psalm.

    A mighty fortress is our God,
    A mighty fortress is our God,
    A mighty fortress is our God,

    And so we will not be afraid;
    and so we will not be afraid;
    and so we will not be afraid.

    The Lord of hosts is with us now,
    The Lord of hosts is with us now,
    The Lord of hosts is with us now.

    He makes wars cease throughout the earth;
    He makes wars cease throughout the earth;
    He makes wars cease throughout the earth;’

    ‘Be still, and know that I am God!’
    ‘Be still, and know that I am God!’
    ‘Be still, and know that I am God!’

    Music Resources Vol. 3– Psalm settings – Psalm 46 p79 , Psalm 46 p80 , Psalm 46 p81

    While the LCA does not necessarily endorse the content of these websites, you may find them helpful in your worship planning.
    Small Church Music: You can download mp3 and midi files of popular hymn tunes from this site.
    Together to Celebrate: lectionary based song and hymn suggestions from a variety of sources.
    Singing from the Lectionary: has song and hymn suggestions based on the RCL from other hymnals.
    Song Select: you can search for more contemporary songs by theme. If your congregation has a paid subscription you can also download sheet music.
    Hymns Without Words: mp3 downloads of hymn tunes.
    Song and Hymn Index. Contains all the indexes of the LHS and AT books in one Excel file. Download the file (zip file) here.
    Metrical Psalms by Dale Schoening : Psalms set to well known hymn tunes.
    Keyboard Accompaniments for Together in Song – CDs are available for purchase through ACR. CD 1 & 2 ; CD 3 & 4.






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