Pastor Mark Surburg has written a great article for his congregation’s August newsletter that we can preview on his blog.
The article launches a challenge to the congregation to learn by heart the Small Catechism, and an explanation of the benefits this brings. This includes memorization, of course, but uses memorization to go on to the next levels, of learning the Catechism by heart, and for it to become a part of us. Pastor Surburg says:
In order for the explanations of the Small Catechism to function in this way, they need to be in our head. This happens as we learn them by heart. The first step in this process is to begin using them as we seek to commit them to memory. The second step is that we continue to use them so that they go beyond memorization. Memorized items are learned and then forgotten. Items we have learned by heart are things that we use over and over until they become part of us. Once they are part of us, they begin to shape and form the way we think and speak.
See the whole article on Surburg’s Blog, “Mark’s thoughts: Take the Small Catechism challenge.“