Last week we discussed the creeds as a source of witnessing and also the Small Catechism as a wonderful source of home instruction. Luther set up the Catechism to be so simple to use for the family, but to take a lifetime to master it. Any thoughts about ways to incorporate it into our homes? Or as a church promoting it to be used in the home?
This week as I reflected on each chief part of the catechism, it struck me on how little I truly know about it. For example: The 9th and 10th commandments. Someone asked me, "Why do we separate them into two commandments and not just one?" and "How do we compare ox or donkey in today's world?" And I have to admit that I kind of struggled with the answer. So I am on a lifelong journey in the small catechism in itself.
Week 2-Luther's Large Catechism (pp.351-61)
Luther beging his longer preface by taking pastors to the woodshed for neglecting to teach the congregations carefully. He continually exhorts the pastors for not being in the Word for a number of reasons: 1) To be able to effectively preach the Gospel, 2) For the nourishment of their spiritual lives, and 3) To fend off the devil who will try to distract their ministry. The big problem at this time was that pastors were lazy. They just did the bare bones and went home. In many ways, this is our current problem in ministry. Often us as pastors get so focused on the bare bones (visits, preparing a sermon, preparing Bible Studies, being nice to everyone) and we spend little time in the Word and even less time studying the Catechism (and we don't even have that mastered). So his encouragement is be in the Word and master the chief parts of the catechism (without meanings) and build off of that.
Homework: Read a chief part of the small catechism in the shorter preface each day and keep it as a major part of your devotional life.
Part 1-10 Commandments (1st Commandment)
"You shall have no others gods"
What is a god? Luther says, "Now, I say, whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god (p.359, 3). It is a common understanding that all commandments begin and end with the first commandment. If you have other gods, the rest of the commandments will naturally be broken. And it is amazing how many gods we have. My biggest gods center around sports, Dr. Pepper, my kids, and Ipods. What are yours?
And Luther warns us with the explanation to the commandments from Exodus 20:5-6, that the Lord your God am a jealous God and that God does not like it when we trust in anything but Him. So we instantly come to the Lord on bended knee and confess our sin in this commandmnet and refocus our lives to look to Him in all things. For "where the heart is rightly set toward God all other commandments follow (p.363, 48)."
Homework: Read Part 1 for the 1st and 2nd Commandments.