Wood, Susan K and Wengert, Timothy J
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The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a watershed event in the lives of Western Christians. For Lutherans, the anniversary evokes their determination to proclaim the gospel with purity and their efforts to live a reformed ecclesial life even if this eventually led to a break with the Roman Church of Luther's time. Viewed in this light, 2017 is a celebration of the gospel message of God's free gift of justification in Christ and its reception in faith. Catholics perhaps experience the commemoration of 2017 more painfully as a break in communion, as a schism in the church.
This bifircuated account of differing perspectives on the anniversary of the Reformation fails to account, however, for the past fifty years of patient, intense, and collegial dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics and the deep friendships forged between them in the process. The commemoration of the Reformation can occur for the first time within an ecumenical context that reflects the progress towards reconciled unity that has been achieved through these many years of dialogue.