Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

Pastor’s Window for September 2009
Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Deut. 4:9; ESV).

The people of Israel were to diligently remember, call to mind, meditate upon God’s mercies toward them, and to impart them to their children and grandchildren. Notice that passing on the faith begins with holding it diligently oneself. Parents (and grandparents and Godparents and any adult who has influence in a child’s life) are to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). That is to say that parents and caring adults are to hand on the faith to future generations, just as the faith was first handed on to them by previous generations. We train up our children in the way they should go when we remember, call to mind, meditate upon God’s mercies to us, particularly as they are revealed in His Word, and then pass this Word on to our children.

How do we do that? To begin with, we make certain that we, along with every member of our family, including all the children, are present each week for the Divine Service. It is primarily here, as the people of God gather together for Word and Sacrament, that our Lord pours out His gifts upon us in the Gospel. Here we meet Christ in His Word, in Baptism, in Absolution, and in His body and blood in the Supper. Here we receive Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, takes away our sin and nails it to His cross where it has been paid in full. Every sinner needs to receive the gifts of the Lord Jesus Christ, even the youngest sinners among us. And true training in the way we should go happens here for both adults and children, as together we hear God’s Word. There are times when children are unable to sit through the whole service, and for such occasions we have a cry room. But as a rule, all the children of our congregation should be in church, participating as much as they are able (see the article by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway in the succeeding pages of this newsletter, or go to http://www.getreligion.org/?p=16597). We should expect them to participate, teach them how to do so, and serve as role models, attending and participating faithfully ourselves. Most of all, we should rejoice in the gifts of Christ and let our joy in the Gospel be infectious.

Second, we should make sure our children are in Sunday School, and we should be in Bible class. Adults have to set the example by being faithful in Bible study themselves. In Sunday School and Bible class, we hear our Lord speak to us in His Word. We continue to receive His gifts, gift upon gift, grace upon grace. The only difference between what happens in Sunday School and what happens in Bible class is that the material is age appropriate. We are all children before our heavenly Father. We all want and need to learn His Word.

Third, we should make the Word of God and prayer part of our daily lives, both as individuals and as families. We should daily read and meditate on God’s Word. Families should do this together, perhaps at the dinner table or before bedtime. We should constantly talk about God’s Word with our children, especially as we engage our culture from a Christian worldview. And we should teach our children to pray by praying with them. Treasury of Daily Prayer from CPH is a tremendous resource for this. God says to His people: “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6-9).

Of course every child should eventually attend Catechism class, which leads to reception of the Lord’s Supper and the rite of confirmation. Adults may set an example for their children and strengthen their own faith by attending our Adult Information Class, a Catechism class for adults. Other opportunities to train up our children in the way they should go include Vacation Bible School and our Higher Things affiliated youth group. In these ways, and as we participate in many other opportunities to enjoy and grow in our common Christian faith, we keep our souls diligently in God’s Word, and make His mercies known to our children and our children’s children.

Pastor Krenz

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