“Let your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.” Psalm 119:135
It is hard to believe that the summer is winding down. Especially, since it was 96 degrees and humid
yesterday. But we are indeed moving on through the year. I, personally, did not do a number of things that I had planned to do this summer. And I am willing to bet neither did most of the members of the congregation. It seems that the time just flew by. And it did.
So, once more we are gearing up for a busier time of year. The beginning of the school year, which is already in session; the beginning of the Sunday School year; the beginning of the choir practices, both vocal and bells; the beginning of Confirmation instruction. All of will be starting up once more in early September. These are all right and proper for us to do. They are part of our tradition. The music is part of our heritage. It was Martin Luther who wrote the first hymns for the congregation to sing. Prior to him, only the choirs sang in service. Luther opened Church music to all laity. So much so, that the Lutheran Church used to be called “The Singing Church.” And, all are welcome to join the choirs to lift voice or hands (holding bells) in music to the Lord; and of course, to join in the fellowship of those activities.
Education is also part of our heritage. Luther wanted what he called, “an articulate laity.” He encouraged all members of the church to be well educated in our beliefs. That is why he wrote the “Large Catechism,” and edited the Roman Catholic catechism of his time, resulting in what we now call the “Small Catechism.” He did so that all people might be we versed (that’s a pun) in our faith. We are carrying on a Church tradition which began with him, and now dates back nearly 500 years. By the way, if you have a smartphone, Augsburg Fortress now has a free app of the Small Catechism available for you, so you can always have it with you (I have it on mine).
The Gospel lessons for this month are also filled with teachings and stories. The parables will include: The shepherd looks for the sheep, the woman her lost coin. The dishonest steward cuts deals, The rich man pleads with Father Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers, The widow harangues the unjust judge, The Pharisee congratulates himself for not being like the tax collector. All are stories to teach us in parable form about life, and the life of faith; the way of the world, and the way of God’s kingdom. Jesus puts a heavy emphasis this time of year on teaching. Let us all be disciples who are eager to learn at the foot of the Teacher.