That question. Luther’s Question in the Small Catechism is the theme of our 2017 Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod Assembly. This is the 30th Assembly of the NT-NL, and I believe it is right that we ask this question. After 30 years, frankly a generation, of NT-NL, what does it mean to be Lutheran here today? Certainly it is VERY different than it was in 1987. Just as it was very different then than it was in 1957.
Luther wrote his small catechism while he had a three year old in the house. This is a reminder that this effort was intended always for families in their homes and inspired in part by a small child. As such the small catechism takes on the task of Early Childhood education for Christians. And like most early childhood material, it is well worth the time of those well past that stage of their own lives.
These sorts of simple questions like What Does This Mean challenge us to drill down to the essence of our witness and confession. It is God’s grace alone that gives us life. It is my prayer, as we open assembly this year, that we will take that question seriously and look towards the future hopefully. I believe fully that our confession of faith, our heritage of utter reliance on God’s grace, is needed now more than ever.
This confession of faith must be central as we take on tough questions of how best to approach evangelism, racial justice, valuing our LGBTQ communities, creation care, leadership development, mission support, economic justice, uniting rural/urban/suburban, planting new ministries, ethnic specific ministry, stewardship, etc… in 2017 and beyond. None of this is possible without the gift of God’s grace poured out for us in the love of Jesus Christ.
By Sunday, our 30th assembly, my first as Bishop, will be completed. I ask for your prayers for me as your leader, and know that I am keeping each of you in my prayers.
In Mission Together,