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Reformation is celebrated at our church on the Sunday closest to October 31.  Our Reformation Program was a small (20 minute or so) part of one of the Sunday services earlier in October. Our rehearsal time was during our Sunday School time for several weeks before the date of the program. We did the program in late service, so that we had the Sunday school time that day to get into costumes, run through things, etc. Our ages ranged from PreK through 8th grade.

Reformation Program:  The story of Martin Luther

Banner Explanation 

{A group of students worked on a banner depicting Luther’s Seal in the weeks before the program.  During the program, one or two students narrated the following while another student pointed out the parts on the banner} 

Narrator:  Martin Luther created this seal to provide a beautiful summary of his faith—a faith common to all Christians.  The center of the seal is a black cross, which reminds us that faith in the Crucified Jesus saves us.  Romans 10: 10 tells us that “one who believes from the heart will be justified”, thus the inclusion of the heart in the seal.  The heart is placed in the middle of a white rose to show that faith gives joy and comfort and peace.  According to John 14: 27, our faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives.  Therefore, the rose is white, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels.  The rose stands in a sky-blue field because such spiritual joy and faith are the beginning of heavenly joys to come.  Around all of this is a golden ring, showing us that the blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end.  This blessedness is beyond all joy and all possessions, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.  

“Father I Adore You”

 {This song can be sung as a round.  We had all the students up front, standing in several  groups.  The word are:  Father, I adore you.  Lay my life before you.  How I lo-ove you.  Jesus, I adore you…… Spirit, I adore you……….. } 

The Story of Martin Luther

{Narrators will take turns reading the script.  Other students will be creating a tableau or “freeze frame” arrangement for each part of the narrated script.  Perhaps there could be some sort of signal to let the actors know that it is time for a new scene—maybe ringing a bell.  The script will give a brief description of actions/props (which a group of students created in the weeks before the program).  Some of the “scenes” could also be on the computer and projected on to a screen.  This might work well for pictures of places.  There are some good pictures in the book by Paul Maier, called “Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World”} 


Scene 1

(Two of the narrators standing alone at the front of church.) 

Narrator #1:  We are going to be exploring the life of Martin Luther.  He was a brave man who challenged the thinking of the authorities of his day.  He was persecuted and put on trial, but didn’t believe in responding with violence.  He attracted quite a following of people who shared his views.  He was also a gifted speaker and writer. 

Narrator #2:   He WAS a great speaker.   I really liked the speech that he gave called “I Have a Dream”. 

Narrator #1:   No…No.  You’re thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr—who was also a great man.  But we are going back MUCH further in time to learn about Martin Luther.  God did great things in the life of Martin Luther.  The influence of Luther is still present today—in his teachings and in his hymns.  In fact, our church—the LUTHERAN church—gets its name from Martin Luther.  

Scene 2

(Picture of town of Eisleben or tableau with a mother, father, baby doll) 

Narrator:    Martin Luther was born nine years before Christopher Columbus discovered America.  He was born on November 10th, 1483 inEisleben,Germany.  His parents were Hans and Margaretta.  He began school at the age of four.  His childhood years were subject to very strict discipline both at home and at school.  Martin learned that Jesus was a stern judge rather than a Savior and Friend.  

Scene 3

(Picture of the town/university of Erfurt) 

Narrator:  Martin went to theUniversity ofErfurt, which was considered to be the greatest university inGermany at that time.  He studied law.  One day, Martin visited his parents to talk about his future career as a lawyer.  They were very pleased with this decision.  

Scene 4

Narrator:  On his way back to Erfurt, he had the scare of his life.  There was a terrible thunderstorm.  (Luther on the ground while someone holds/throws(?) a lightning bolt).  Luther prayed and said, “Save me, St. Anne and I will become a monk”.    He made it back to Erfurt, and his life was never the same.  (Luther stands up)  Luther kept his promise and entered the Augustinian monastery inErfurt in 1505.  His father was furious.  He became a priest in 1507.  

Scene 5

(Luther standing there as a monk, or a picture of Luther as a monk) 


Luther tried to be a good monk by praying and working and studying, but he felt like he was a failure.  He was always wondering what he needed to do in order to win God’s forgiveness of his sins.  

Scene 6

(Picture of Wittenberg) 

Narrator:  Martin was sent to a new university in Wittenburg to become a professor.  He was still depressed and obsessed with being “good enough” for God.  While there, he studied the Bible, especially the book of Romans.  He was excited to learn that he didn’t have to earn God’s forgiveness.  God loved him.  Jesus died on the cross for his sins and the sins of everyone.  Forgiveness and salvation were gifts from God.  However, this is not what the church was teaching at that time.  

Scene 7

(Tableau with a priest—John Tetzel—holding a fancy box.  Another person—looking poor—is about to drop a gold coin into the box) 


The church taught that after you died you went to a place called purgatory that was between heaven and hell.  Your punishment in this place could be shortened if you bought something called an indulgence.  A man called Tetzel was one of the main salesmen of indulgences.  He would say:  “As soon as the gold in the casket rings; the rescued soul to heaven springs.”  These ideas were NOT in the Bible and Luther protested against it. 

Scene 8

(Luther nailing the 95 theses to a door)

Narrator:  On October 31st, 1517, Luther wrote 95 concerns—or theses—about purgatory and indulgences and other incorrect teachings of the church.  He nailed them to the door of theCastleChurch in Wittenburg, so that everyone could read them.  It was an act that began the Reformation and changed the world.  Many people agreed with Luther, but he angered the church leaders and was called again and again to explain his position. 

Scene 9

(A king with a crown sitting in a chair, surrounded by his followers.  Luther standing in front of them) 

Narrator #1:   Finally, Luther appeared before Charles the fifth, the emperor over much ofEurope, at the Diet of Worms. 

Narrator #2:  Diet ofWorms!!! That sounds disgusting! 

Narrator #1:  No, they didn’t eat worms.  In those days, a meeting was called a diet.  And this particular meeting—or diet—took place in a town calledWorms.  The church leaders demanded that Luther take back what he had written, but Luther clearly stated that everything he believed was based on the Bible.  He said:  “I cannot recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I cannot do otherwise.  God help me. Amen!”  Luther lost the trial anyhow and was called an outlaw.  This meant that anyone could kill him.  He had 24 hours to get out of town.  He left to go home to Wittenburg, but he didn’t make it. 

Scene 10

(Luther being grabbed by several people wearing masks—or a picture of this) 

Narrator:  Luther and his friends were overtaken by a group of men who kidnapped him.  He thought that was to be the end.  However, these “kidnappers” were really friends of his in disguise.  

Scene 11

(Picture of Wartburg Castle)

Narrator:  He was taken toWartburgCastle.  He was given a room and was disguised as a knight and given a false identity—that of Sir George.  He had to stay there until things calmed down. 

Scene 12

(Luther sitting at a desk, writing) 

Narrator:  Martin didn’t just sit still while he was in the castle.  God had a plan for him.  He translated the Bible into German, so that ordinary people could read God’s Word for themselves.  At some point, he returned to Wittenburg.  He preached and taught people about the forgiveness of sins.  He wrote hymns—“A Mighty Fortress is Our God” –is one of his most famous hymns.  He wrote the catechism, which was a book of questions and answers, to be used to teach people.  Luther wrote an astonishing number of things.  There are so many, that they would fill 100 thick books.  Luther said that he was too busy and set in his ways to ever become a husband.  But then he met Katherine von Bora, a former nun.  Katherine decided to leave her convent, but running away was very dangerous.  So she and several other nuns came up with an escape plan. 

Scene 13

(Katherine and several other nuns hiding behind some “barrels” with pictures of fish on them).  

Narrator:   During the night, Katherine and the other nuns climbed into some empty fish barrels and hid.  The barrels were taken to Wittenburg.  They climbed out of the barrels and started new lives.  Martin and Katie were married and eventually had 6 children—three boys and three girls. 

Scene 14

(Picture of Martin on his sickbed) 

Narrator:   In 1546, Luther returned to Eisleben—the town of his birth—to settle an argument between 2 princes.  While there, he suffered several heart attacks and then died.  He was buried beneath the pulpit in theCastleChurch at Wittenburg. On the doors of that church, nearly 30 years before, he had posted the 95 Theses that started the Reformation. 

“A Mighty Fortress is Our God” 

{We played this on our Boomwhackers.  We have a full octave (from C to C) and the tune in the hymnbook fits within that range.  We would only play the top melody line.  Each student only had one Boomwhacker.  I wrote out the music on a long, long, long sheet of heavy paper and color-coded the notes to match the Boomwhacker color.  I also wrote out the counting, depending if they were quarter notes or half notes, etc.  I draped it across several music stands so that the students could see it and basically pointed at the notes when they should be played.  It sounded great!}

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