Saturday, 4 May 2013

Saturday - Shorter Catechism

Prayer:   Divine Healer,  move through every part of my body and mind,  dissolving all  frustrations,  irritations, and aggravations.   Divine Healer,  sweep away all of my impatience and struggles and sufferings that keep within my body.   Divine Healer,  help me to turn my frustrations and struggles into inspiration and enthusiastic action.  For this and all things  we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

The month of May and into June we will be taking each Saturday to learn a section of the Shorter Catechism.    In order to mature as Christians,  we must be able to tell others (and ourself!) what we believe.    The Shorter Catechism was created by the Church fathers for such a reason. 

The Shorter Catechism is an old old instruction book from Britain on what it means to be a Christian.   The full title is the Westminster Shorter Catechism.  And yes,  there is also the Westminster Larger Catechism.    The Westminster Shorter Catechism was created so that new believers could understand what it means to be a Christian.   After many years of writing and re-writing,  the Westminster Shorter Catechism,  the Westminster Larger Catechism, and The Confession of Faith was completed in 1647 and  taken to the Parliament (Long Parliament in England) and passed on 14 April 1648.  

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism,  there are 107 questions that help us define our faith and our belief and our doctrine.  Each of the 107 questions also comes with Scripture texts.   The first twelve questions reflect on God as creator.  Then the explanation of original sin is found in questions 13 to 20.   Questions 21 to 38 pertain to Christ as our Redeemer.  Questions 39 to 84 explain the Ten Commandments.  Questions 85 – 97 instruct on Baptism and Holy Communion.   Questions 98 – 107 instruct us on the Lord’s Prayer.     Our Christian faith in 107 questions!  How neat is that!
Back in the day,  Sunday afternoons were set aside for learning and memorizing the Shorter Catechism.     Memorizing a faith document is essential but it can’t just stop with memorization.   We need to put into action what we have learned and memorized.

Most Presbyterians 55 years and older chuckle away when someone asks what is the First Question of the Shorter Catechism as most of us learned the Shorter Catechism in our Confirmation Classes.   

Together over the next few months we will be devoting Saturdays  to learning (and memorizing) the Shorter Catechism.  And the Shorter Catechism will be taken from the original 1648 text.  So,  if you see the word “man” and this bothers you,  remember that back in the day the word “man” does not mean just male…. it means human…. male and female.  

Question 1  What is the chief end of man?   
Answer:  Man’s  chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.

1 Corinthians 10: 31
Romans 11: 36
Psalm 73:  24 - 28

As Christians we are to glorify God through Worship,  prayer,  study of scripture,  meditation, and action. We give thanks and praise to God our Creator,  Redeemer, Sustainer.    But the best part is this is not a one time thing.  We are to enjoy God for ever.  

Prayer:   Holy God!  You are our live.   Holy God!  You are our love.  Holy God!  We glorify You.  Holy God!  We thank You that You are our God and we are Your people. 
We worship You this day and always.  Amen.

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