Confessing the Catechism

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

We should fear, love, and trust God above all things.

This past Sunday we started something that we’re planning on doing all year long – in addition to our confession of the Creeds (the Nicene this Sunday), we recited or confessed a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism

For a long time I have known that I wanted to incorporate reciting parts of the catechism in our worship services this year because it is getting us ready for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and thusly, the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran movement in the world wide Christian church.  My question was, where was I going to put it? I thought about putting it in different places throughout the year (i.e. the 10 commandments, Baptism, and the section on Confession and Forgiveness would come at the beginning of service, the Lord’s Prayer and Lord’s Supper sections would come around communion, and the Creed would obviously come around the Creeds…), I thought about putting them around the readings, but finally I settled on their place at the Creed. Because we are confessing what we believe when we recite the Catechism.

The Catechism isn’t the Bible, but is drawn from the Bible, just like the Creeds aren’t found word-for-word in the Bible, but are a sort of synopsis of what is in the Bible. The Catechism isn’t a sacrament, but it proclaims what we believe about the sacraments. The Catechism is a confession, a statement of what we believe is truth.

I am having “confirmation interviews” right now with some of our members. They are getting ready to make a confession in front of our community that they believe the things that we believe. We, likewise, are getting ready to confess that they have been among us and have learned what they need to in order to make that confession. One of the specific questions that we ask in confirmation is: “Do you confess the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Scriptures, as you have learned to know it from the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true?”

When they answer “I do.” to that question, they are confessing the Catechism along with us. They are confessing the truth of who God is, of who they are, of what they need, and of what God is providing. 

If you’re a ‘Nole, you do the warchant. It’s what you do. The warchant confesses something about you, and it confesses something about those with whom you chant. It makes you a part of a community, and it identifies you as an individual in that community. That’s what we do when we confess together.

As we look forward to year of confessing the catechism together, that is the hope of University Lutheran – that you will have your life changed through the confession of the truth together with others who are confessing the same truth with you.