Grace Notes 2021-08-25
May I never tire of extolling and commending Luther’s Small Catechism as a reliable framework for being well catechized in the Christian Faith! And may you never tire in building on this foundation. Amen.
The Congregation at Prayer resource that comes to you weekly continually reviews a portion of the Small Catechism. We have just recently rounded the corner and are once again starting over with the Ten Commandments. As I commend this resource, please understand that this is not merely a matter of bragging up on the Reformer, Martin Luther. Rather, his gift of giving succinct explanations borrows heavily on the great teachers that taught before him. And even more importantly, the principal portions are the Holy Scripture themselves.
In review of the six principal parts we start with the first three: The Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. The Ten Commandments preach the law with the primary purpose of moving us to ongoing repentance and recognizing our need of a Savior. They portray the will of God and what he demands of us. Accordingly they convict and condemn us all as sinners.
The Apostles’ Creed preaches the gospel with the primary purpose of revealing God’s rich promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation. It speaks of what God has done, continues to do, and what he will do in the future to redeem and restore lost sinners and the rest of his creation.
The Lord’s Prayer preaches the holy life, that is, how saved sinners live their vocations in thanksgiving for the Lord’s rich mercy. Without the help of God, reflected in the petitions, we are not able to please our Lord or truly love our neighbor.
Interestingly, the final three parts deal with the resources available to us to make and nurture us as Christians. In Holy Baptism we receive spiritual birth. In Confession and Absolution we live out our baptism. And in Holy Communion we are sustained with food for the journey.
Since You Asked…
What is a Paschal Candle?
The Paschal Candle is a massive candle, two or three inches in diameter and three or four feet in length, used during Easter to represent the presence of the risen Christ among his people. It is therefore accordingly used also at baptisms and funerals as a sign of the dying and rising with Christ that we are joined to by faith. (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)
Our thanks to Carol Peterson and family, along with the memorial gifts from Buff Peterson’s Funeral for the beautiful Paschal Candle, which other than during the Easter Season, resides next to the Baptismal Font at the back of the nave.