I’ve done a fair number of nursing home visits, hospital calls and home visits in 13 years serving as pastor. Visiting the sick and the homebound, oftentimes I receive more than I am able to give. I am blessed to hear shared stories of people strong in their faith even though they may be very ill. I’ve tried to be a listening ear and faithful pastor when people are experiencing difficult times.
But last week, as a pastor I experienced a first. While visiting a nursing home, a member of our congregation asked, “Pastor, do you think you could bring me a copy of Luther’s Small Catechism? I think I’ve lost mine.”
It’s not unusual for folks to ask me for a copy of our devotional book, Christ in Our Home. Sometimes people will ask for a copy of our newsletter and often I’ll bring a copy of last week’s bulletin or a copy of Living Lutheran magazine, which I am happy to share. But the Small Catechism? This was a joyful first.
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In 1528 while visiting churches in Saxony, Luther was surprised to find a lack of knowledge about the Ten Commandments, The Creed, Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer and other basics of the faith. Luther was shocked to find not only common people of his day lacking knowledge but even the clergy did not have a good understanding.
So, in the spring of 1529 Luther completed the Small Catechism first printed on large charts. The Small Catechism was later made available in a small Illustrated book, clearly a tool to be used by parents in teaching and sharing the Christian faith.
As we approach the 500th anniversary of the reformation, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has called us to study and to take a close look at the Small Catechism. In the months to come we will do just that. If, like my friend that I went to visit, you’ve lost your copy please let Jason or me know; we will be more than happy to get you another.
Two other things: I’d like to extend an invitation to join me after worship in Adult Forum beginning September 18. We’ll start the year “Making Sense of the Cross”. Also, thank you for your kind words, your thoughts and prayers during my recent hospital stay.