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The Small Catechism

From late 1528 through early 1529, Martin Luther went on a series of official visits to Christian congregations throughout the German state of electoral Saxony.  Shocked by what he saw and heard, Luther wrote: “The deplorable, wretched deprivation that I recently encountered while I was a visitor has constrained and compelled me to prepare this catechism, or Christian instruction, in such a brief, plain, and simple version. Dear God, what misery I beheld! The ordinary person, especially in the villages, knows absolutely nothing about the Christian faith, and unfortunately, many pastors are completely unskilled and incompetent teachers.”  So, in 1529, Luther wrote what we know as his Small Catechism, which has been translated into hundreds of languages and is still used by Lutherans and other Christians to teach, in a simple and clear form, what we Christians believe.


Luther included these words at the beginning of each section: “In a very simple way in which the head of a house is to present it to the household.”


We continue to use the Small Catechism as a main resource in our confirmation classes today.   Why?  Because the Catechism still teaches the words we use to confess the faith we’ve been given.  When we bring our children to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God Himself applies an unbreakable promise to them: that He forgives all their sins and claims each baptized child as His very own.  “Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).  Parents, sponsors, and the congregation also make a promise: to teach the child the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer.  We, as the body of Christ, take up the work of teaching our young people the faith they received from God in Holy Baptism. That’s what we use the Catechism to do. In confirmation classes, we continue this work that has already begun in our families and homes.  


Confirmation Sunday will be April 28.  We have one 8th grade confirmation student this year: Landon Winslow.  In the service that day, we will recognize and give thanks for what Landon has learned, and pray that our Lord strengthens and keeps him in steadfast in His Word and in faith.  Our God is faithful.  What He promises, He does.  Every time.


Grace and peace to you,


Pastor Raleigh

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