CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—The Table of Duties for Youth--“Submission” and “humility” are not terms that any of us naturally gravitate toward. The sinful flesh wants to submit to no one and is filled with arrogance and pride. If the sinful flesh doesn’t get its way, it rebels. From where does the will to “submit” and “humble one’s self” come? It comes from faith in the Gospel. Our Lord Jesus submitted Himself as a young man, because He trusted in His Father who promised to do good through His submission. He humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross, because He trusted His Father to do good through His suffering. When youth are admonished to submit to their elders and humble themselves before them, they are really being invited to trust God to do them good in their office as youth, even though they may have to endure things that they don’t agree with or enjoy. The way of faith is always the way of deference toward others. This we learn to believe through the faithful reception of the Gospel and Sacrament of our Lord.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—The Holy Trinity--"We should live in this simplicity and not venture forth on this deep and tremendously vast sea of dispute about such [questions of the Trinity] . For this article is very slippery, first because of its subtlety, then also because of our weakness. It is, therefore, complete folly and a most perilous undertaking to wish to search into these things more subtly. For if we could do this, we would not need the Scriptures for a guide. No, neither would this Teacher and King be necessary for us. Moreover, those who neglect the Scriptures and approach such questions with confidence in their own mental power are the teachers of God, not his pupils. And so they will be cast down and fall like Phaethon, who intended to rule over the sun...
If reason disturbs you here and questions arise: 'Are there, then, two gods?' Answer: There is only one God, and still there is the Father and the Son. How is this possible? Respond with humility: I do not know. For God did not wish these things to be discerned with the eyes. He only made it known in the Word and wished it to be believed. When we do this, we do not err. We truly follow a lamp lit by God himself. Our reason, however, is blind and unable to see such great things. (SL 5:131ff)
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—The Table of Duties: To Workers of All Kinds—How many employees or workers would call themselves “slaves”? Not too many. If one did consider himself a slave, it would not be a complimentary term. Yet “slave” is a term that is often used in the New Testament of our Lord. For Him it is not derogatory. It is a term that describes the nature of His office as one who has come into the world to serve no one but others. He came to serve the Father in love and sinful man in love to the point of dying upon the cross. He had no thought for Himself or His own protection or welfare. He is the ultimate “worker” and in His work we see the true nature of Christian work. We “work” as Christians, not to serve ourselves, but to serve others in love. The characteristic of our work is that it is done for others, even if they do not appreciate it. Selfless love is what motivated Jesus and it is that love to which we are called by faith in the Gospel. Jesus’ selfless love and service to us is reflected in His own words: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Since this is Jesus’ confession about Himself, we should not be adverse to have ourselves called slaves.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—The Table of Duties: To Parents and Children—“It would be well to preach to parents on the nature of their office, how they should treat those committed to their authority…God does not want to have knaves or tyrants in this office and responsibility nor does he assign them this honor (that is, power and authority to govern) merely to receive homage. Parents should consider that they owe obedience to God, and that, above all, they should earnestly and faithfully discharge the duties of their office, not only to provide for the material support of their children, servants, subjects, etc., but especially to bring them up to the praise and honor of God…If we want qualified and capable men for both civil and spiritual leadership, we must spare no effort, time, and expense in teaching and educating our children to serve God and mankind. We must not think only of amassing money and property for them. God can provide for them and make them rich without our help, as indeed He does daily. But he has given and entrusted children to us with the command that we train and govern them according to His will; otherwise God would have no need of father and mother. Therefore let everybody know that it is his chief duty, on pain of losing divine grace, to bring up his children in the fear and knowledge of God, and if they are gifted to give them opportunity to learn and study so that they may be of service wherever they are needed.” (4th Commandment, Large Catechism)
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—The Table of Duties Concerning Wives and Husbands--The passages of Holy Scripture in the Table of Duties concern the offices we have been given as Christians where our faith in Christ is lived out in this world. There is often great confusion about these two holy offices. Husbands are the head of their wives, but their headship is one of sacrificial love, teaching the Word of God, and forgiving sin. They are to be considerate of their wives who are placed in an office that requires them to submit to their husbands. Husbands are not to lord their authority over their wives. This is always a temptation for any Christian husband. Wives are to understand that their office of submission is patterned after Christ’s bride the Church. They are to expect their husbands to love them, teach them, and forgive them. Their beauty is not in outward adornment, but in the reception of their husband's love. “This is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands...” It is a beautiful and blessed thing when husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church and when wives receive that love and trust in it.—Excerpted from Lutheran Catechesis
Luther's Small Catechism
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