Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Synod's June emphasis on parish education – timely and timeless‏

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Parish education is essential to learning, teaching the true Word of God.

Stay the course: teach, learn, live
This June, we discover all the places where we learn about Christ -- in our homes, schools and churches.The headline was eye-catching: “Christians lose ground, ‘nones’ soar in new portrait of US religion.” The article’s first line was even more alarming: “The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago.”
That Religion News Service article, reporting on a recent Pew Research Center report regarding the state of religion in America today, was meant to shock and awe. And it did, because the numbers don’t lie. The percentage of atheists and agnostics in the United States is growing. Persecution of Christians is on the rise. Christian morals and values are increasingly denounced in the public square.
This shouldn’t scare us, and frankly, it shouldn’t surprise us. The Church has always been in the minority, because the Word of God has always been a stumbling block to those who don’t believe it. We are witnessing today what the apostles, the church fathers, the reformer and our LCMS forefathers all observed in their lifetimes as well.
The good news? The Word of the Lord endures, regardless of public opinion and irrespective of cultural whims. Our Lord is timeless and unchanging. His love endures, despite polls and statistics.
That’s why it’s important for Lutheran Christians to continue focusing on parish education, on teaching the faith in our homes, schools and churches — regardless of what the popular culture says.
It’s important that we set aside time each day — as families or singles, grandparents or confirmands — to spend in God’s Word and to pray. It’s important that we know our catechisms, our hymnals and, most importantly, our Scriptures. It’s important that we commit Bible verses and hymns and prayers to heart. It’s important that we teach. It’s important that we study.
This month, let’s rediscover together the rhythm of that learning and teaching, of ordering our days around Christ and His Word, despite the world’s distractions.
Let’s focus again on daily devotions, whether done alone, in your congregation or with your family. Let’s recognize that our Lord has given us the ability to share His Gospel with “nones” and with all others, putting His Word in our hearts and on our lips.
And let’s study together what He has to say, so that we aren’t scared or surprised. Instead, let’s live in and by His mercy and forgiveness, day in and day out.

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