Christian Children

by David Rufner

My wife and I spoke in hushed tones about Paris, confident that the kiddos were well out of earshot. Still they heard. One of the little ones piped up, “What happened in Paris?” I managed to feebly offer that some bad folks had done some bad things to some people far away. And with that, the other little one made the sign of the gun and said, “Pop. Pop. Dead.”

It turns out that our little ones, more than we care to know, are highly in tune with the world. It doesn’t take them long to become trained in the ways of sin, death and the devil.catechesisbody

But I notice something else about my children that is both obvious and well worth saying. They are Christian children, creedal children and confessing children. They are baptized into the life of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And like the rest of us, they are shaped by this baptismal life. For with the Church they receive the Living Word. With the Church they confess their sin. And with the Church they confess Christ who covers their sin and who is the light of the whole world.

But this shaping also happens in the home. Dr. Luther knew this and envisioned that we would embrace this in our families and homes. In fact, the Small Catechism begin with this preface, “As the head of the family should teach [the faith] in a simple way to his household” [1]

 In my weak response to my children concerning the events in Paris, I failed really to teach my children and address the events in light of their faith in Christ. But they didn’t fail to see the connections.

One of my children objected to these terrible events, saying, “Don’t they know that God makes everyone?” I believe that God has made me and all creatures…[2]. Another kiddo chimed in, “Jesus can forgive them, you know.”  I believe that Jesus has… redeemed me, a lost and condemned person…[3]. And the conversation continued with an amazing pronouncement. “God’s not done with dead people. We are gong to live after we die.” On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ[4].

And this same faith gives us a new sign to make and a faith-filled prayer. Dr. Luther instructs us to morning and night, “Make the sign of the cross and say, “I thank You my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son… And I pray… For into Your hands… Amen”[5].

Dear parents and people, enjoy the catechesis of the faith! It is a gift to you morning and night, in church and at home, as you navigate the world and go into it to serve your neighbors.

The Rev. David Rufner is pastor of New Hope Lutheran Church, Hudsonville, Mich.

[1] Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, CPH, 2008, p.11.

[2] Ibid., p. 15.

[3] Ibid., p. 16.

[4] Ibid., p. 17.

[5] Ibid., p. 33.

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One Response to Christian Children

  1. December 8, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    Thank you, Rev. Rufner, for this wonderful reminder. Isaiah 55 rang in my ears as I read this article.

    “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. “For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.…”

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