Catechesis Notes for the Week—To Husbands— Chief among the offices that God has established in the creation of man are the offices of husband and wife. A husband is a man, joined in love to his wife in marriage, who cares for her and “cultivates” life with her in the procreation of children. When the Apostle Peter directs, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers,” he is reminding husbands that their wives have been given an office by God that places them in a subordinate position to them. It would be very easy for the husband, corrupted by the sinful flesh as he is, to take advantage of his headship and the wife’s position of subordination to him. He is to “be considerate” of the position that God gave her and be husband to her in selfless love. Although they are not both in the same office, they are, nevertheless, equal “heirs of the gracious gift of life” in Christ Jesus. If he does not believe that, then his prayers, which include the ministration of his office as a husband, will be “hindered.” The essential disposition of the husband to the wife is contained in the passage from Colossians: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Here the husband’s office is depicted as the office of Christ who cares for His bride the Church, as it is also in Ephesians 5:22-33. Christ loves His bride by laying down His life for her and by covering her sins with His blood. He is never harsh with her who is “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, but nourishes and cares for her as His own body.” The office of husband finds its identity in Christ, the Church’s Bridegroom. [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]
Congregation at Prayer
April 16, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week—The Holy Spirit and the Resurrection of Our Lord—During this week of the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we also meditate upon the Third Article of the Creed. It is the Holy Spirit who brings Jesus’ victory over death to us through the sweet message of the forgiveness of sins. By this Word, sins are forgiven, faith is created, and we are raised up by the Spirit of God to walk in newness of life. Jesus gave up the Holy Spirit when He died upon the cross and in the upper room He breathed the Holy Spirit upon the disciples when He said, “Peace be with You!” The message of Jesus’ peace and forgiveness is the message of the Holy Spirit by which we are continually renewed in faith and life. This same Holy Spirit will raise us from the dead, with Jesus, on the Last Day. By the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Word and Sacraments of Christ we will forever enjoy the resurrection of the body and the life-everlasting.
April 9, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— Of Citizens—This section of the Table of Duties teaches us that citizens are not only to honor the civil government, but they are also to participate fully in the society. Christians, governed by the Word of God, their faith in Christ, and their understanding of the distinction between the two kingdoms, are encouraged to participate in civic discourse, run for public office, serve in the military, and volunteer in the community. Their faith in Christ manifests itself in acts of charity and mercy for the temporal support of their neighbors in need. In addition to paying taxes and obeying the laws of the land, Christians are called to pray for their rulers, participate in the general welfare of the nation, and “to be ready to do whatever is good.” [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]
April 2, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— Of Civil Government—We are reminded of the important role of the civil government in the secular kingdom every time we confess in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. The phrase “under Pontius Pilate” means “under God” because the governing authorities have been instituted by God. God works His will through them, even when they be evil. This requires faith in the Lord who promises to work His will, even though we may not understand why or how He will do it. Jesus submitted Himself to the governing authorities in His Passion. Although these authorities were evil and unbelieving, God accomplished His will through the administration of their office. Though Pilate did not believe in Christ, he nevertheless spoke on God’s behalf when he declared Jesus to be the innocent King of the Jews, and when he sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. Our salvation was won for us when the Son submitted Himself to the judgment of the Roman governor in the secular kingdom. Every time we confess that Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate,” we should be reminded and strengthened by this to live faithfully under the civil authorities. [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]
March 26, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors—The second half of this section of the Table of Duties highlights the respect and honor pastors are to receive because of the work God has given them to do. They are called to preach the Gospel, judge doctrine, administer the Sacraments, remit and retain sin, and guard the flock from the assaults of false doctrine and impenitence. They are accountable to God for being faithful to what He has called them to do. “Hearers of God’s Word” are to respect and honor their pastors, not because they have no sin or short-comings, but because of their office and their faithfulness in the work that they are called to do on the Lord’s behalf. [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]
March 19, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors—This section speaks of the responsibility of Christians and the Christian congregations to provide temporal support for their pastors who faithfully preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments to them. Every Christian is called by the Gospel to “share all good things with his instructor.” It is a mockery of God when members of congregations turn a deaf ear to the Word of God and a hard heart toward the care of their pastors. Such neglect flows from impenitence and unbelief. Where there is faith there will be love, affection, and generous support of the Church’s pastors by her members. Chief among the duties of Christians is the faithful hearing of the Word of God when it is preached and taught by our pastors. Pastors receive the greatest joy in their ministry when the people of the congregation come eagerly to hear the Word of God when it is taught and receive it with joy and the hearty “Amen” of faith. The “Amen” of faith is confessed in the way in which the congregation takes care of her pastor. [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]
March 12, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— To Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers—The first set of texts in the Table of Duties concerns those who are called to preach the Word of God: To Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers. These are not three different offices, but one office. Each word describes an aspect of their work. A bishop is an overseer. He is to supervise the doctrine and life of the congregation, along with the administration of the Sacraments so that everything is taught and done according to God’s Word. “Pastor” means shepherd. The pastor “shepherds” the flock by calling to repentance, admonishing the erring, and bestowing forgiveness for Jesus’ sake to the penitent. The word “preacher” gets at the heart of the minister’s work: proclamation of the Word of God. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” The men who are ordained to the Office of the Holy Ministry “must be above reproach” so that their lives do not obscure the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. They stand “in the stead and by the command of Christ” in the administration of Christ’s gifts; therefore, they are called to a life of holiness that is sanctified by study of the Word of God and prayer. This section of the Table of Duties not only teaches us concerning the qualifications of our ministers, but it also encourages us all to pray for our pastors that they might remain faithful in the work that God has called them to do. [Reprinted from Lutheran Catechesis: Catechist Edition]
March 5, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— Why Are Guests Asked to Speak with the Pastor before Communing?—There are two reasons why guests are asked to speak with the pastor before going to the Lord’s Supper. First, it is the responsibility of the pastor to examine the confession of faith of those who come to the altar. Our concern is that they know their sin, they trust in Christ alone for salvation, and they believe that He is giving them His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament. “Worthy reception” of the Sacrament requires such faith. Second, the Lord’s Supper is not merely an individual Christian in communion with his Lord, it is also the declaration that the communicant believes and confesses the faith with the church in that place. The external teaching and confession of the church that we belong to is important because it is the external Word and sacraments that nurture and sustain that saving faith.
February 26, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week—A Pledge of the Resurrection of the Body — The Lord’s Supper was, since ancient times, called “the medicine of immortality.” In the Lord’s Supper we receive Jesus’ true body and blood. This is the same body and blood that was born of the Virgin Mary and that was given and shed for us for the forgiveness of all our sin. “Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.” It is precisely because the body and blood of Jesus delivers to us Christ’s forgiveness, that His body and blood becomes the source of restored life with God, the resurrection of our bodies, and eternal life, incorruption, and immortality. When we receive Jesus’ true body and blood in faith, we are receiving the very pledge from our Savior that on the last day we shall be raised bodily from the dead, and our mortal flesh will put on immortality and incorruption.
February 19, 2017Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week— This is My body. In the Lord’s Supper Jesus gives us His body to eat and His blood to drink. The Sacrament of the Altar rests upon the Word of God. Jesus’ words give what they say. The power and benefits of the Sacrament are given through the Word. Take away the Word and there is no Sacrament. With the Word, there is a Sacrament, namely, “the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself, for us Christians to eat and to drink.” What role does faith play in the Sacrament? Faith receives what the Word says. Faith believes in what the Word gives. Faith rests upon the promises of God. The essence of the Sacrament, that is, “what it is,” is determined by the Word. This gives faith its certainty. We know we receive the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of all our sins, because the Word says so. Faith knows no other certainty but the promises of the Gospel.