A pastor (not my own) recently was talking to me about catechesis as the quiet crisis of the church. He said, “We have to band together.”
He is so right.
Many noble, industrious, and even exhausting efforts have been made to improve the lay Christians’ benefits from the Small Catechism in the forms of:
- Knowing it.
- Faith strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s use of it.
- Praying it.
- Living according to it.
- Singing it.
Too bad those efforts have not borne more fruit or become more widespread. The trouble was, saints did not band together.
Lay people did not band together with their pastors. See a Table of Duties problem there? Yes, that’s what it is, a Table of Duties problem.
Pastors did not band together with each other, but suffered in isolation.
Lay people did not band together. Husbands and wives did not band together. Families did not band together.
Of course, some did. But in widespread areas where catechesis did not improve, the trouble was, there, saints did not band together.
Well, our loving and generous heavenly Father has given to us, one and all, the Internet. With this tool, we can raise consciousness of the need to band together and build the enthusiasm that we can band together. We can gather resources into a tool warehouse from which pastors and lay people can outfit their catechetical workshops at home and in the parish.
Many Christians come across a good little book here, a spot-on article there, or a nicely done piece of teaching material somewhere else that uses the Small Catechism or focuses on one its parts. It is great when you find a jewel and it sparkles for you. Now you have a chance to make it shine for many others.
Have you come across a Catechism reading plan or thought of one yourself? Pop me a note.
Have you come across pastoral teaching materials developed by or for pastors to teach the catechism? Pop me a note.
Have you noticed a written work about Luther’s catechisms, parental responsibility, home catechization, pastoral catechesis, or a related topic that perhaps should be in the bibliography or added to the document library? You guessed it. Pop me a note.
Did you see an online catechetical resource to which this site should be linking. Pop me a note.
But most of all, practice reading and re-reading the Small Catechism. Find yourself recalling pieces of it at any time of the day. Cogitate (or to sound more spiritual, meditate) on it, mull it over. Ask your pastor questions about it. Find yourself being affected by the Catechism in how you pray, how you live, how you receive from Christ during the liturgy of the Divine Service, and while singing sermons to yourself and those around you from the Hymnal.
Talk about these things with your family and friends. Support your pastor’s catechetical teaching. If he is not teaching the Catechism, ask him to do so. When he does, attend, and invite your friends. That is where the banding together really needs to happen. We can do something significant online, but it must come down to earth in your corner of the world, in your vocations.
We have feet. They can carry us to Catechism class. We have eyes. They can read and re-read the Catechism. We have lips. They can speak of the truth, promises, and prayers of the Catechism to ourfamily and friends,
for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. [Ephesians 4:12b-16]
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21.