Monday, April 29, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--For the Family

Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

In the name of + Jesus.

Yesterday, following the Divine Service, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with Concordia’s latest confirmands, and hearing them confess the one holy, catholic, apostolic, Christian faith.  After two years of weekly catechesis (instruction), these two teenagers have the Word of Christ written on the hearts, and therefore, it flows forth from their lips.  Next Sunday, they will make this confession of faith publicly in the rite of Confirmation, and will receive the body and blood of Jesus for the first time in the Sacrament of the Altar.  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD.

We tend to think that this just happens, that the annual Confirmation service should be routine…and maybe it should be.  But, when we consider that faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-10); when we consider that no man can confess that Jesus is Lord apart from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3); when we consider that the faith confessed in Luther’s Small Catechism is the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jud 1:3); when we consider that these two teenagers have confessed the very same faith which has been confessed by all the faithful for nearly 2,000 years; then we begin to appreciate, and to rejoice, and to give thanks for what the LORD has done in these two teenagers.

Of course, there were the many memory work assignments which they both completed; there were weekly vocabulary quizzes, which they both managed to pass; there were exhaustive tests on each of the Six Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine, in which both of them were able to demonstrate their understanding of Christ’s teaching; and there were 36 worship reports (sermon summaries) completed while sitting in the Divine Service each week, and even more than all of these “assignments,” there was the weekly liturgy of God’s Word, handing over Christ and his Word.

And that is where all of us become like them.  Most of us are long past the days of being assigned memory work by the pastor, and don’t plan on having flash cards with Christian vocabulary to go through before a quiz.  But all of us are called to gather together as the Body of Christ; all of us are called to weekly gather to hear the voice of our Good Shepherd, to be fed the food of eternal life, to be shaped and formed and molded by the Word of God heard in the liturgy (Psalms, Readings, Canticles, Hymns, Sermons, and more!).  All of us are God’s children, cared for by the Father when His Spirit delivers to us the Word of His Son.

And so, whether we’re thee or four; thirteen or fourteen; thirty or forty; seventy, eighty, or ninety; as we sanctify the Holy Day, and set it apart for all of God’s children to feast on the Word that gives eternal life, all of us, together, will be the LORD’s great heritage—for we will continue confessing that one Christian faith which only He can give.

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Lord God, heavenly Father, in Holy Baptism You began Your good work in our catechumens, and You have blessed their instruction and training in Your Word. We implore You to pour out Your Holy Spirit on their hearts and minds so that they will truly love and revere You, confess the faith with joy and boldness, endeavor to live according to Your commandments, and praise and glorify You as their faithful God and Lord, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen (LSB, p. 310, #178).

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