Learn by Heart
Jesus tells His disciples “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus promises to be with us always in Word and Sacrament. He will not leave us or forsake. We have His Word upon our lips and our hearts. We speak them when we wake and when we go to sleep at night. We hear them in the home and as we travel along the road (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). As disciples of Jesus, we are continually in His Word, sitting “together at Jesus’ feet in the Christian congregation and in the Christian home” (Peter Bender, Lutheran Catechesis). Thus throughout the school year we memorize portions of Luther’s Small Catechism.
At our school, our younger children will learn the primary texts including the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and texts related to Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper as our older children learn the meanings. These also serve as the chief focus of the sermon delivered at our weekly school chapel.
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.
Where is this written?
The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul write:Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?
These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: “forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Who receives this sacrament worthily?
Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.
Immediately the father of the child cried out[a] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
The Third Article: Sanctification
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
This is most certainly true.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Luther's Morning Prayer
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Luther's Evening Prayer
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Asking a Blessing
The children and members of the household shall go to the table reverently, fold their hands, and say:
The eyes of all look to You, [O LORD,] and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. (Ps. 145: 15–16)
Then shall be said the Lord’s Prayer and the following:
Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.