Exploring the Small Catechism 1:7

After the video, check out Joshua 7, Ephesians 4 (specifically verse 28), and John 10–particularly verse 10.

It is not a secret that Jesus speaks frequently about money and our careful and generous use of it to further God’s kingdom.

You may not know that the Bible also prohibits interest on loans, which Luther helps us to see is basically stealing (particularly high interest which is very difficult to pay off.

Pray for those who are responsible for paying workers.

Pray for those who govern and rule, that they would work for justice against stealing.

Pray for those who relate to you or are under you and do all you can to be sure you do not steal or cheat them out of anything.

In Christ,

Pastor Andrew Fitch

Exploring the Small Catechism 1:3

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath,to keep it holy.

Just so we are clear about the day:  The Jewish Sabbath day is Saturday.  This is the last day of the week.  See Genesis 1– the divinely ordered day of rest after the work of creation.  The Resurrection occurred on the first day of the week, which is Sunday.  This is why it is also called the Lord’s Day.  Both together are why we have a “weekend.” So, if you like weekends, thank God!  Recognizing that not all people have a five day work week is certainly part of this commandment.  God is looking out for the “little guy” and setting an ordinance to prevent overworking the servants and workers, but also for all of us to keep the holy rhythm.  Prayerfully consider what it means to enjoy time off at the expense of others.

One of my new favorite podcasts – One Extraordinary Marriage, always starts with the same tag lines that include “being busy is overdone.”  How true is that?!  Even when we have days off or holidays, we rarely rest in them and give glory to God in the midst of them.  Being busy is not a sign of importance or status.  It is a sign that we don’t know how to appropriately say no to things besides rest and God.  As I write this, I am ahead of the “Christmas rush.”  I know of some that have already begun  to purchase and plan.  I have often scoffed at this timing, but if it helps you to be less busy and actually engage in the relationships around you, then I think it is good.

A closing thought from Alvin N. Rogness, there are clubs and teams that require you to attend every meeting or practice.  If you miss, you are out.  “The church has no such rule.  You can miss the church service and still be a member, though your absence may be harmful to you.”  In fact, many churches find it hard to clear the membership rolls of those that are long gone.  God only requires us to love God and to love one another.  All of the other commandments support the first one.  If you love God, you want to honor God’s name and show up in the time and place set aside specifically to listen to God and to thank God.  What would you think of a football payer that didn’t bother to show up for scheduled practices.



Exploring the Small Catechism 1:2

Exploring the Small Catechism 1:2

The Second Commandment.

Check out Exodus 3 to go along with this piece.  Superficially, the bush by this name should be taking on its characteristic bright red colors right about now (at the time of this writing).  More deeply, this passage is about Name and naming.  What does it mean to you that God discloses a personal name to us, through the people of our heritage?  Incidentally, this would be a good and clear reason for us to love and cherish our Jewish brothers and sisters–our parent has the same name!

Also, particularly poignant is Matthew 20:11-18.  Pay particular attention to verse 16.  It is in the name that God becomes recognizable.  This time, to the first human witness of the Resurrection.  God knows the power of being called by our name to grab our attention and be in conversation.  What does it mean that God knows our name and wants to call us by our name just as much as God wants us to call upon God by the Name above all Names?

Names and naming is a very significant theme in the Bible (and in ordinary life).  Names change or are transformed marking covenants and conversions.  Your favorite Bible character probably had two names.  One before God and one after God touched their life.

Take a moment to pray considering your name and what it means that God knows it (and all the nicknames).

Pray also for those recently named into the Book of Life.

Pray for those who are nameless and unknown, those who their society or culture rejects or ignores, recognizing that God knows them and does not want us to live and treat others that way.