Several weeks ago, a member at Zion approached me with a wonderful idea to encourage the members of the congregation to revisit their Small Catechisms. While we are expected to pray the Catechism our whole life long as Lutheran Christians, most don’t. This idea will help promote ongoing catechesis, increase devotional activity, and be a fun way to get church members working together on a God-pleasing task!

The idea suggested to me was to have people sign up to be a part of a Catechism Recitations group where everyone re-memorizes the six chief parts and recites them to someone else like it is done in confirmation class. After about a year, all the participants will have a banquet/dinner to celebrate the achievement. It will be a fun, yet educational experience for everyone, as we seek to grow in our knowledge of the Lord and His Word. I’d also encourage parents who have soon-to-be confirmation age kids to participate, so their children get a jumpstart on the memorization process. It would also be good for the parents!

  • Here's how it will work:
  • We will post a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in participating.
  • There will be a “recitations chart” for participants to pick up that will have each principle part listed for you to (re)memorize.
  • After you memorize something, recite it to someone who will date it and sign it as a witness.
  • Plan to attend the banquet dinner in about a year to celebrate! (Hopefully we might even have some door prizes!)

This, by the way, is exactly how the Seminaries require Seminarians to do their recitations. At my Seminary, for example, the librarian would make the joke that she always knew what semester the Catechetics class was happening because every student was carrying around their Catechisms and going to her for their recitations.

In a time when information can be found at the swipe of a finger on a smartphone, some people may be tempted to think that memorizing things is a futile endeavor. Just imagine, though, if we lived the rest of our lives this way – not ever actually knowing anything for ourselves. Imagine if we had to watch a YouTube video every time we wanted to brush our teeth or tie our shoes. Practically speaking, memorizing God’s Word means that we will have information faster than our fingers could punch words in a search engine. More importantly, memorizing God’s Word means it becomes a part of our very being. While most of the Catechism is literally straight from the Bible, the rest of it summarizes what the Bible teaches in a succinct, compact way. There is no better evangelism tool than having God’s Word memorized.

When I was a kid, I memorized every starting running back, wide receiver, and quarterback on every NFL team. I could talk about football – with confidence – to anybody simply because I had a basic knowledge of every scoring position in the league. In the same way, if we as Christians had the catechism memorized to such an extent that we could talk about every chief article of doctrine to any person at any time, we will have the confidence to do so, and most importantly it will come naturally. I spent all that time memorizing football players; I wanted to make it worth my time by talking about it to anybody that would listen! All those players are long since retired. Like all things of this world, sports are fleeting. God’s Word, though, is eternal. When you memorize it, you will naturally want to talk about it, because it will be on your mind, on your heart, and thus naturally also on your lips.

May the Lord bear fruit in all those desiring to embrace this challenge, that not only we, but also our neighbors might benefit from it! And have fun!

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

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May 30, 2024 • 3:36PM

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