As we move on from the Ten Commandments portion of Luther’s Small Catechism, we will look at two articles of the Apostles’ Creed and examine what they mean. We will use Law and Gospel to view these two parts of the Creed.
One of the challenges of teaching the Ten Commandments is helping students to understand that God’s directives and prohibitions are broader than they seem.
The month of January marks not only a new year but the start of a fresh series of blogs for Sunday School teachers. The plan over the coming months is to reflect upon and offer teaching ideas related to the Six Chief Parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. The Six Chief Parts are the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar. It is my sincere hope that this series will be an edifying confirmation review for you, the teacher, and a useful tool for presenting the basics of the faith to your students.
The den of our home features a set of large windows. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of their shape and design, the windows also let in a more-than-ample amount of glorious sunshine throughout the year. Little compares to napping in the easy chair with beams of solar warmth pouring over you. The only downside to so much light is that the illumination mercilessly reveals the dust all over the furniture and television and even floating through the air. I just dusted yesterday! Light is glorious except when it reveals imperfections.
The Lord speaks to His people through the prophet Malachi in the fifth century before Christ regarding a similarly thorough revelation.
At Halloween when I was a child, one of my brothers and I would trick-or-treat in the apartment complex where we lived. One year, we were both costumed as characters from the television science-fiction program Battlestar Galactica, which was popular at the time. But every year, we made the most efficient use of our time by starting out the moment trick-or-treating hours began, trying to garner as much candy as possible by hitting every apartment with its light on.
In January 1977, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC on his way to the White House. Yet this time, things were different; President Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and his nine-year-old daughter, Amy, were walking. Carter was the first president to exit the motorcade and walk during the inaugural parade. Previously, newly-elected presidents had ridden coach or driven down the passage, presumably in reaction to the January cold and for the sake of protection from would-be assassins.
Last month, we considered Joel 2:17–19, 24–25, in which the Lord promised to restore what was consumed by the locusts. Recall that the swarm of locusts destroyed not only what was needed as food for the people but also the same for the livestock. What is more, without grain or livestock, the people had nothing to offer the Lord in sacrifice. In mercy, God restored what was consumed, pointing to His provision of the greatest sacrifice, Jesus Christ.
It is that time of year in Indiana when the air is not only warm but also annoyingly full of flies and mosquitos. There are measures one can take. Diligently close doors and windows, hang fly paper, spray insecticide, remove standing water, wear insect repellent—the list goes on. There is no perfect solution except for winter. One way or the other, we can’t escape summer without a few mosquito bites and flies in the food.
As part of Confession and Absolution in the Sunday morning liturgy, we acknowledge before God and one another that we have offended the Lord not only in what we have done but also in what we have failed to do. We can, and often do, sin by neglect. The inclusion of this type of confession is so insightful and powerful. It is insightful in the sense that we more often notice and remember our sins of commission—the things we do—rather than things we don’t do.
Phil Rigdon shares his teaching observations on our God-given talents, skills, and abilities while reminding us that Christ remains all sufficient for us.