Daily and Midweek Devotions: Luther’s Catechisms
Many Lutheran churches are using this Lenten season to focus on some of Martin Luther’s best known and beloved writings: his catechisms. Why? First, because we’re observing the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation. Second, because Lent is a great time for catechesis: the forty days leading to Easter basically originated as a time to help people prepare for baptism at the Easter Vigil.
What’s a catechism? A catechism is a summary of basic Christian teachings, doctrines, practices. When children are baptized, we promise to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed and the Ten Commandments. But Luther emphasized that these basics aren’t just for people new to the faith (or to memorize as a teenager in confirmation class), but for lifelong exploration. We might study and say the Lord’s prayer daily and never arrive at the end of its full meaning and power.
What are the basics of faith? What did Luther include in his catechisms, and why are these teachings important and helpful? How would we summarize the faith today?
Private devotions in Lent – explore the catechisms!
Two versions of Luther’s catechisms will be made available and can be found in the fellowship hall. We encourage you to take one. if you can, to leave a check to cover the cost (made out to First Lutheran Church for: Lent book).
Free Indeed: Devotions for Lent 2017 is a beautifully illustrated book with a reflection on Luther’s Small Catechism written for each of the forty days of Lent.
The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther, 1529: The Annotated Luther Study Edition. The Small Catechism was written for everyone, including children, while the Large Catechism (which isn’t all that large) goes into more depth for the educated. This brand new edition has helpful annotations from a scholar at our own Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley.