The Lutheran Christian tradition continued on the long-held practice that had entered the Church early on of the baptism of infants. As a part of this, as children grow they are taught to go deeper into understanding the faith. This process is called Catechesis. The study is centered on the Holy Scriptures and the study of Luther's Small Catechism.
The Ten Commandments Given to us by God through Moses to guide followers of the Creator in how to live life. It has been a guide for followers of the one true God for over 3000 years (it is estimated that the 10 Commandments were received by Moses c. 1550 B.C.). These commandments were a part of the covenant made with the people of Israel that would be fulfilled through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Christ, these are a reminder of our need for a Savior as we fail at the First and all other sin follows from that.
As Lutherans, we follow the medieval numbering of the Commandments and they are:
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain.
You shall honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.
You shall honor your father and your mother.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shal not covet your neighbors house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, his workers, his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor's.
It is good to recite and know these by heart as you pray and ask God's forgiveness while thanking our Lord for the salvation that we have received. In Luther's Small Catechism there is a deeper explanation of each commandment to assist in that reflection and for even deeper reflection one can go to Luther's Large Catechism as a further understanding that will help to shape the devotional reading of the most valued asset that we have received, the Holy Bible, which contains the timeless truths of God's revelation to his creation.
The Apostles' Creed One of the earliest symbols of faith is the Apostles' Creed which was created as a unifying statement of faith for those preparing to be baptized and for the families of infants and children that were baptized later as the Early Church grew. The form is simple in nature and easily memorized and recited, but within it are timeless truths that are meant to guide the Church in raising up disciples. The three parts help us in our understanding of the triune nature of our faith.
THE APOSTLES' CREED I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary,
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
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.
*or holy Christian church, catholic is a term that means universal or the universal Christian church and is not referring to the Roman Catholic Church solely.
This is one of the three ancients symbols of the Christian faith which are the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. This is the simplest and shortest of all creeds making it the easiest to learn and memorize.
The Lord's Prayer What a better prayer can there be than one which our Lord, Jesus Christ, taught his disciples to pray (Matthew 6:7-15, Luke 11:1-4, and referenced in Mark 11:25-26). These words stand as a timeless teaching of how we should pray to our God as our Father.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.
These words are simple, yet full of meaning and each petition is explored in Luther's Small Catechism and in greater depth in the Large Catechism. As we pray and we read the Word of God given us in the Canon of the Old and New Testaments, we are given greater insight into the compassion that are God has for us, his people.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism & The Sacrament of the Altar In Lutheranism we celebrate two Sacraments. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar, also known as the Holy Eucharist, The Lord's Supper, and Communion. The mysteries of each of these Sacraments is God's action. In both a promise is given, not by us, but by God and when we trust in these promises we can be confident in the forgiveness and salvation we have received.
In Confirmation, the purpose is to help better understand this as a support in our faith journey and give us something to cling to in times of conflict or trouble.
These two Sacraments were maintained in the Reformation because of their centrality in Scripture and the promises which Jesus Christ, himself, attached to them. One Sacrament of the Roman Catholic faith that some would argue is the Third within Lutheranism is Confession and Absolution, however, this was not officially made a Sacrament in the Lutheran Christain tradition because it points us back to Baptism and calls us to the Table that our Lord prepared. Though Confession is not a Sacrament, it is integral in our Lutheran Christian faith. When we gather we have a corporate confession and absolution, but we still recognize the benefit and importance of private confession which the pastor can offer at any time when asked. The purpose of Confession is to ease one who is troubled in their spirit and are seeking assurances of God's forgiveness and love for them by hearing the words of absolution pronounced on a particular sin or sins that are troubling.
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