Full Text for Confessions 2- Volume 38 - Is the Catechism Done after the Supper? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS LC2 38 Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. P.O. Box 1924 Lombard, IL 60148 800 825 5234 www.captionfirst.com *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *** >> ERIC: We are pretty close to the end, aren't we? So the Lord's Supper pretty well wraps up the catechism, doesn't it? It certainly seems to be the last substantive thing Luther covers. >> DR. KOLB: When I studied the catechism, Eric, I thought so. And I think my pastor, who was an excellent instructor, also thought so. Because we didn't spend much time on the last two sections of the catechism. But the 5 or 6 key parts of Christian doctrine are really only the first sections. And we know from other writings of Luther that we fail to miss what he really wanted to do with his handbook for Christian living if we don't go on to the last two sections. The first one he entitled, "How the head of the house is to teach the members of the household to say morning and evening blessings and then also to offer blessing and Thanksgiving at meals." Luther wanted, first of all, to prepare the young people who were being instructed through his small catechism to conduct what we would call daily devotions. For you and for me the part of our daily devotions is Bible reading, I suppose. Whether we do it privately, individually, or whether we do it in our family circle or maybe a circle of friends. The medieval world in which Luther was born, in which he grew up, didn't have that many literate people. There were many, many households that could not read the Bible, could not hear the Bible read. And so what Luther did was to say well, let's just go through the text and see what he said. He begins in the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, by making the sign of the cross. The sign of the cross as a reminder of the fact that Christ has claimed you as his own in your baptism. The sign of the cross takes you back to your baptism where the sign of the cross marked you as a sinner who was dead and buried with Christ as a child of God, raised up for new life with him. So you begin the day in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit praying the Trinity to watch over you just as you were brought into that name at your baptism. And then Luther says, "Say the Apostle's Creed. Say the Lord's Prayer." I think, if we would make a thorough translation of the catechism for our day and age, we would substitute for the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Just read the Bible. The Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer were those parts of the catechism that formed the heart of the Christian faith. And they were to bring the believer to meditate upon the word of the Lord at the very beginning of the day. And then, having meditated, the believer is to say to God, "Thank you. Thank you for the protection of the night." We have to remember that the medieval village was not a really safe place. There were fires in the night. And occasionally, not often, but occasionally there were robbers in the night and the like. And so we ask we thank God for protection. And we ask him for protection during the day, protection against sin and every evil. We want that protection so that our whole lives can please God. We pray for the strength of the Holy Spirit so that we may in loving obedience to our God show his love to our neighbors. And then we place ourselves totally in God's hands and ask that, through the accompaniment of the holy angels, we may resist the power of the wicked foe. You can see here that Luther is very, very conscious of this struggle we've talked about, the struggle of the life of repentance. He knows that, when you get up in the morning, you are facing a battle against the devil, the world, and your flesh. He recognizes that you may be easily deluded into doing the wrong thing and into trusting some false God. And so he has you begin your day with this prayer. Having thought about the Creed, what God has done for you as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, having said the Lord's Prayer and the special prayer, then you can go off to work singing a hymn. Luther suggests one on the Ten Commandments so that you get the whole catechism in. And then you are able to go to your work joyfully. And the pattern is the same in the evening. As you put yourself to bed, you make the sign of the holy cross. You remember you are a baptized child of God. You remember whose name was placed upon you as you received your new identity as God's child. You say, "God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, watch over me." And then you meditate again on some Bible passage that's not, of course, in Luther's catechism. He turns simply to the catechetical texts of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. And then you say again, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you for your protection during the day. Please forgive my sins." Because the forgiveness of sins constitutes the life of faith. And then, "We ask for protection through the night commending ourselves into God's hands and having his holy angel come to us to resist the wicked foe who, as we know, invades even our dreams." And then, knowing that we are in God's protection and the protection of his holy angel, we can go to sleep quickly and cheerfully. And on those nights when I haven't put myself into the hands of God, I don't always go to sleep quickly and I don't always go to sleep cheerfully. So Luther's exercise here is an exercise, a devotional exercise that indeed all Christians could benefit from using. The medieval family gathered together to most of the time, most medieval families at meal time as well, something that we don't have the privilege of doing as often as we used to in this country. But alone or in a family group we are to come and gather at God's table before the blessings of food that are so essential for our human existence. And here Luther took some Psalm verses and wove them together into beautiful prayers. "The eyes of all wait upon you. You open your hand. You satisfy us." And then he comments, "This delight with which we receive these things means that animals receive enough to eat to make them joyful and be of good cheer because worry and greed are going to present such a delight." So you too should like the animals just look at God's good and giving hand and not be worrying about what you didn't get. Not be greedy over and against your neighbor and covet the things you haven't got. Then Luther urges the Lord's Prayer be said as that prayer which embraces all that we do in the middle of the day and asks again for the blessing of God upon his gifts. And, after we have eaten, then we give thanks to the Lord in the words of the psalmists, say the Lord's Prayer, and reassure God of our thanksgiving. Wonderful pattern for our daily encounter with God's word, which renews us as it forgives us. And a wonderful pattern for giving thanks to God and to recognizing our need to be placed only into his hands, into hands that will protect us because they have stretched out on the cross for us, hands that took us first from the dust in Eden, hands that will embrace us to our dying hour. That's the pattern for living in the word of the Lord that Luther gives to all of us even to this day.