“GUIDING THE FAITH OF OUR CHILDREN”
A Sermon for Christian Education Sunday at Resurrection Lutheran Church, presented by Pastor Jim Kniseley on May 20, 2007..
Dear Friends in Christ,
last time I preached was on May 6 in
I was touched by some of the things people said about my ministry in their midst. It’s been my experience that it is often difficult to see in the short-term the results of your work and ministry. In fact sometimes you wonder if you are really making a difference.
One man can up to me and said, “Pastor Jim, 25 years sober.” And he reminded me that at the age of 33 as a young pastor I led an intervention in his life with his family because of his alcoholism. I don’t remember all the details. He seems to have remembered everything. Even something I said that seems unkind. He said at the intervention he told me that from then on he wanted to counsel people about drinking. He claims I said, “Right now I wouldn’t recommend anyone to you.” He told me that was part of what he needed to hear. His wife and daughters and spouses were there and they wanted the grandchildren to meet me.
One couple wanted to tell me about their heartache. Their daughter that I had in youth group and confirmed was in her 19th year in prison, convicted of killing someone in a drug deal gone bad. They just wanted to remember with me the happy times in their life when their daughter was in a good environment with church folks of all ages who had her best interests at heart. I do remember that their daughter was always a follower, doing whatever the crowd around her was doing. Unfortunately she went with the wrong crowd after high school and so made some poor decisions. They asked me to write their daughter and give her encouragement and hope. Of course I will do that.
When we get the opportunity here at Resurrection, let’s invite the former pastors back as a way of affirming the ministry they provided here in the life of this congregation…
focus on today, here and now, at
The latest issue of our Lutheran magazine carries the article “Tending Souls/ Helping Parents Nurture Spirituality in Children.” They make the point that God has placed in children an innate spirituality – an insatiable curiosity, a delightful sense of spontaneity, a deep capacity for trust, surprise and creativity. What they don’t yet have is a language to express it. A key role for Parents is to give them the language, the tools to reflect and explore their spiritual experiences. Spiritual awareness must be learned or it will remain dormant for a lifetime.
Here at Resurrection we have a valued partnership when it comes to Christian Education. We present classes and group experiences to teach the faith. We have the Living Well and Vacation Bible Camp for our children. We have Confirmation and Youth Group and Sunday School for our youth. The partnership is with the parents. We in the church community can only reinforce what is being taught and experienced at home. Here is a real truth: the more influential partner is the home. The Church is a valuable partner but the stronger influence comes from your Homes.
the year 1528, Martin Luther visited a number of congregations in the Saxony
The writer of the article in the Lutheran magazine, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, suggests five ways parents can nurture the faith of their children:
Yesterday several of us from this congregation were in
“In the home, the father is an evangelist and apostle to the children. In fact the father is the Bishop and the mother is the Bishopess of the family. They are called to instruct the entire household in the basics of the faith.”
Today we thank God for parents who are fulfilling their duties and responsibilities, we encourage others to start doing their part, and we rejoice in the gifts that many bring to making Christian Education a high priority in the Resurrection Family.
Thanks be to God! Amen.