At the end of October we will celebrate the 503rd anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg. I have been reflecting on how this act of protest and desire for change is very similar to what is going on in our world today. We come from a history of trying to always live into being the people God has created us to be.
One of the biggest desires of Martin Luther was for faith to be practiced in every home and neighborhood, for faith to be a place the community could come together in unity. Living in 2020, more faith formation is happening in the home, because that is where we are spending more time than ever. Think about that word ‘practice’. Practice is exactly want we all need to keep doing, practice the faith. Christianity, its language, habits, and rituals, is not something that can be learned in just a few minutes, it takes a life time. Think about it this way, when someone is learning a foreign language they don’t expect to go to a class one hour a week and be able to start speaking fluently. But rather they go to class, then they practice at home, they find conversation partners and they work to learn the new language. Faith formation is very similar; it is learning a new language, so it needs to be practiced more than just one hour a week.
And so faith needs to continue to be practiced in our homes as we attempt to fulfill Martin Luther’s dreams. Did you know he wrote the small catechism because he wanted to give parents a small book that would help them teach faith in the home? The Small Catechism was written so parents could continue to grow in their own faith and start to teach their children the language of faith. Martin Luther is famous for saying, “parents are children’s first pastors”.
At our services of baptism, we as a congregation make big promises to little ones to help support them in the faith, teach them, pray for them and walk with them. BUT when those little ones grow and choose to confirm their faith (which most of us adults at Zion have also done) new promises are made. Hear the words spoken at the affirmation of baptism service:
“Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism: live among God’s faithful people; hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper; proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed; serve all people following the example of Jesus; and strive for justice and peace in all the earth?”ELW pg. 236
When we affirm our faith we promise to continue to live and grow in our faith, we promise to serve and share the good news, and we promise to care for our neighbors.
What does faith formation in your home look like? It does not matter what the make up of your household is, faith formation is a life long process.
My household is just me, so faith formation in my house is personal reading of scripture and devotions, but it is also finding conversation partners in Bible and book studies.
Some households are multiple adults, what does your faith formation look like? Do you pray together, do you read scripture together, do you support each other’s strive to work for justice and peace?
Some household are multiple generations, some adults/some kids, what does your faith formation look like? Do you pray together, do you read scripture together, do you support each other in proclaiming the good news of God in Christ through work and deed?
This fall Zion has entered into a new style of faith formation to accommodate the world at hand. Sunday school has shifted to an at-home model and a family Sunday school model, both of which people of all ages are encouraged to participate in. Faith formation has no age limit…so I ask one more time…what does faith formation in your home look like? How can we support you in that?