Catechism

Introduction

These are the basics of the faith for parents to teach their children daily at the dinner table.

In the morning, make the sign of the cross, give thanks for a new day of life, say the Lord’s Prayer, as you wash remember your baptism. Consider a morning Psalm such as:

Open my lips, O Lord, *
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence *
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again *
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Consider a morning prayer such as:

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought
us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty
power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by
adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your
purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

At mealtime pray a mealtime prayer. Teach several to your family. Read a passage roof Scripture. Teach an article of the faith, using simple explanations from a small catechism such as this or others.

At night pray with your kids at the bed.

Read to them from the Bible and other books. Pray for others. Pray prayers such as:

Support us, Lord, all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done; then Lord, in your mercy, give us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen

Close with the Lord’s Prayer.

I. The 10 Commandments

1. Do not worship other gods.

What does this mean?

Love God and place all your trust in God. Do not worship or give your heart to money, success, popularity or any of the other gods that seek to rule your life.

2. Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

What does this mean?

Love God and do not use God’s name to curse, swear, lie or hurt others. Keep God’s name holy. Always use God’s name to bless others, to call upon God in prayer, and to joyfully give praise and thanksgiving to God for life.

3. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Love God and take one day a week to listen to Scripture, to pray, to rest and spend time with family.

4. Honor your father and your mother, so that you might live a long life on the land that God has given you.

What does this mean?

Love God and show respect for your parents, so that you will have a long and prosperous life.

5. Do not murder.

What does this mean?

Love God and neighbor, so that you do not harm or hate your neighbor, but love, care for and protect your neighbor.

6. Do not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

Love God and neighbor so that you do not cheapen sex or treat people as objects. Honor marriage, love your spouse and in matters of sex let your words and deeds be pure and honorable.

7. Do not steal.

What does this mean?

Love God and neighbor so that you do not take your neighbor’s money or property. Do all you can to protect your neighbor’s property and livelihood.

8. Do not bear false witness.

What does this mean?

Love God and neighbor so that you do not lie or misrepresent people. Tell the truth. Give people the benefit of the doubt by putting the best possible construction on their actions.

9. Do not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

Love God and neighbor so that you do not obsess over others’ things.

10. Do not covet you neighbor’s spouse.

What does this mean?

Love God and neighbor so that you do not obsess over others’ relationships.

II. The Creed

Teach this to your family.

The 1st Article

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

God is Creator.
Everything I have and everything I am is a free gift of God, the source of all life and beauty.
God created me and everything that exists.
God continues to create, clothing the grass and flowers, and feeding every living thing.
In God we live and move and have our being.
This God is like a loving parent, who knew us before we were born and walks with us all our lives.
This is most certainly true.

The 2nd Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

God is Redeemer.
God was most clearly revealed in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary.
This Jesus healed the sick, ate with sinners and preached the reign of God.
Though innocent, he was tortured, executed on the cross and buried.
His death reveals the love of God who forgives sins.
He is risen and now lives as the eternal Christ.
This is most certainly true.

The 3rd Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?

God is Sanctifier.
I could not possibly fathom God nor follow Christ without the magnetic power of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit comforts, enlightens, sends and makes me holy.
The Holy Spirit calls, gathers and guides the church together, to hear the Word, receive the Sacraments and serve the world in Jesus’ name.
Through the Spirit I have come to know forgiveness, love and new life, now and in the life to come.
This is most certainly true.

III. The Lord’s Prayer

Pray this prayer every night before you go to bed, after making the sign of the cross. Teach it to your family.

Introduction

Our Father in heaven.

What does this mean?

The God of the cosmos, the Creator, is not an angry judge, but a loving parent, who has our best interests at heart.
We are God’s children, and therefore we can approach God with confidence and honesty.

1st Petition

Hallowed be your name.

What does this mean?

We pray God’s name will be kept holy in all the earth.
As in the second commandment we are called to keep God’s name holy, we pray that we might not use God’s name to curse, swear, lie or hurt others, but always use God’s name to bless others, to call upon God in prayer, and to joyfully give praise and thanksgiving to God for life.

2nd Petition

Your kingdom come.

What does this mean?

God’s reign of justice and love broke into our world through Jesus.
This reign is God’s dream for the world, where love and justice rule, where the hungry are fed, disease is gone, strangers are welcomed and war is no more.
In this prayer we pray that we might have a small part in this.
God’s reign continues to break into our world where there is love of God and neighbor.
In this prayer we pray that God’s reign may break in to our lives, and in others’ lives through us.

3rd Petition

Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

What does this mean?

Not everything that happens is God’s will.
God does not want suffering.
In time, God’s will will be done.
In this prayer we pray that we might have a small part in this.
We pray that God’s will might be done in our lives, and in others’ lives through us.
We pray as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”

4th Petition

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

Everything we have and everything we are comes from God, who provides enough for the whole world.
This includes food and clothing, school and work, home and family, church and state.
We pray to stay aware of this, and to live in a constant state of thanksgiving.
We pray that we, and all the people of the world may have enough to eat.
We pray that God will use us to make this so.

5th Petition

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

What does this mean?

To sin is to fall short of God’s commands and highest hopes for us.
We confess we have sinned and ask God’s forgiveness for us and for others.
Our Lord Jesus taught us to forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven.
He taught us to forgive others as we would hope to be forgiven.
In this dangerous prayer we pray that God would forgive us in the same way that we forgive others.

6th Petition

Save us from the time of trial.

What does this mean?

Everyone faces temptations and difficult times in life.
God does not wish these trials on us.
In this prayer we pray that God would protect us from those trials and sustain us when we are in the midst of them.
We pray that God would keep us faithful, joyful and hopeful when we are in the midst of life’s greatest struggles.
We ask for strength and wisdom, so that we might not cave into temptation.

7th Petition

And deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

In this prayer we ask that God would protect us from evil in this world.
We ask that God would watch over us and keep us from all that is profane and unholy.
We pray that we might be instruments of God’s righteousness and holiness in this world.
When we die, we pray God would welcome us into eternal life and peace.

Conclusion

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

What does this mean?

In this doxology we acknowledge that everything belongs to God.
We brought nothing to this world, and we take nothing out.
All is God’s.
And so we offer prayer, praise and thanksgiving to God.

IV. Baptism

What is baptism?

Baptism is an outward sign (water) of an inward grace (the love and forgiveness of God that are revealed in Jesus, the Word of God). Baptism is initiation into the Christian faith and life.

Why do we baptize?

We baptize because Jesus commanded it, and promised to be with us in Matthew 28:28-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, for lo I am with you always, even to the close the age.”

What are the gifts of baptism?

Baptism brings promises of the forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death and evil, the gift of eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit.

How does water do this?

It is not the water, but the promises of Jesus found in Scripture, along with the water. Titus 3:4-7 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

What does this mean for us?

Baptism means we have drowned our old self, and risen out of the water to new life in Christ. Daily we return to this baptism so that we can live in the newness of life in Christ. Romans 6:3-4 says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

V. Confession

VI. Holy Communion

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