Christian Education in the Home
 Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 13-15

A Mother's Day Sunday sermon presents an opportunity to raise our awareness of the needs and challenges of our neighbors on this continent and others, while celebrating the hard work and sacrifice of women and men who have accepted the charge to love and nurture our community's children.

In today's lesson from Acts that was read Luke recalls the promise that we would receive spiritual power, and he retells details of the Ascension. Then those present responded by retreating to the room upstairs for prayer. Included among the devoted were Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other women. We always think of all the men listed, the disciples, but we don't think about the mothers who were present, who were keen on remembering God's commandments and Jesus' teachings because they taught them to their children. The children learned them at their mother's knees, on their laps, at their breasts. And fathers reinforced the learning and made the children recite what they knew to be sure it was written on their hearts. They made sure they knew how to pray. Grandmothers and grandfathers reinforced the teachings, made sure the children knew about God and God's abundance and blessings; made sure they knew how to pray.

In the lesson from Acts, they gathered for prayer. They gathered for prayer.

In the upcoming June newsletter, I am going to emphasize prayer because we, as a congregation are going to emphasize prayer throughout the summer. Adults in the congregation who don't know how to pray will learn how to pray. Adults in the congregation will teach the children and youth how to pray. Children won't have Sunday School, but they will learn how to pray this summer because PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS and AUNTS and UNCLES will teach them how to pray. The FAMILY of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran will teach them how to pray. For every child that is baptized in this congregation those gathered, as well as parents and any sponsors, agree to help raise the child in the knowledge and love of Christian teachings. I think we are not taking that very seriously.

The reading that I read from Deuteronomy has a lot to say to us about how we are falling down on the job of teaching our children. How can adults teach children something they don't know? It's not enough to come to worship because that's not enough for you to be able to teach your children. You need to study the Bible, need to continually learn how to apply its teachings to present day challenges. What you get on a Sunday morning is only meant to bolster, support, reinforce what you are learning in your study of the Bible during the week.

Deuteronomy says we should love the Lord WITH ALL OUR HEART and WITH ALL OUR SOUL and WITH ALL OUR STRENGTH. Scripture says that the commandments of God, including, and especially the ones that Jesus gave us-to love God and to love our neighbor and to love one another as he, Jesus, loves us-these are to be WRITTEN UPON OUR HEARTS. We are to IMPRESS THEM ON OUR CHILDREN. We are to GET THEM INSIDE OF US AND OUR CHILDREN. We are to talk about them WHEREVER WE ARE, SITTING AT HOME OR WALKING IN THE STREET; we are to TALK ABOUT THEM FROM THE TIME WE GET UP IN THE MORNING TO WHEN WE FALL INTO BED AT NIGHT. We are to TIE THEM ON OUR HANDS AND FOREHEADS AS A REMINDER, INSCRIBE THEM ON THE DOORPOSTS OF OUR HOMES.

Let's see….hmmmm, how many of those directions from GOD do we comply with? Let's see….hmmmm, impress them on our children? From what I can tell when kids get to confirmation they don't know diddly and I can tell that they have not in any way had these commandments and teachings from God impressed upon their hearts. Do families talk about them when they are sitting at home? Walking on the street? Driving in the car? Do families talk about them from the time they get up till the time they go to bed? Do we carry any reminders of them? Do our homes have any sign that teaches them? And when I say "families" I mean the extended family of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins AND equally as important the CHURCH family. Do the adults know the children's names? Do the youth bother to learn any of the adult's names?

We and many churches are failing miserably.

Each person has a variety of human needs-physical, emotional, and spiritual. In order to meet these needs it would seem that from the very beginning of recorded history, persons have gathered within family units. Indeed, it can be said that the family is the oldest and most successful of human institutions.

Oh, sure, some family units are not the healthiest or the most loving. But it isn't a matter of what some family units are; it is that the family unit has the potential for ultimate good. Just like any one of us has the potential to be loving and caring and compassionate and forgiving. Whether we live up to it or not does not take away from the fact that God created us to be those things. And Jesus through his teachings and his laying his life down for us that we might be forgiven for our short comings believes we can be those things. And we are encouraged and strengthened through the Holy Spirit to continue on and to try to be who we were created to be.

So, the family unit was created to be something that is beneficial, where needs can be met. And as I said, there is the basic family unit, the extended family unit, and the church family unit.

Out of countless centuries of human experience, humankind has made the unanimous judgment that the best and most satisfying life is that which makes the family the basic unit.

We need to recognize that there is the ever-present danger that in our active lives the home may become just a place where one eats and sleeps. Although in many homes there is rich cultural and educational depth, at the heart there seems to be a lack of a solid and satisfying philosophy of life and a firm religious faith. This lack causes confusion as to what are the worthy goals of life and real values worthy to be achieved.

Let us resolve to make the home increasingly the very center of life-whether it is the basic family unit home, the extended family home or the church family home. Within the home there should be work, play, education, spiritual instruction and worship.

The religious experiences and expression should become a normal and accepted part of family life. There is no easy magic by which we can achieve the recovery of our family life where God is part of the very fabric of that life. It calls for a conviction that nothing can be more important. It demands hard work in the recognition that anything of such worth and value will not come automatically. It demands commitment to an ideal that is bigger than the self. It insists upon an emotional maturity that sets aside our selfishness and enables us to have a deep feeling for others. It needs absolutely to be nurtured and nourished in the word, sacrament and knowledge of God and Jesus teachings. It needs daily care in the home and it needs at least weekly care in praise and thanksgiving in worship. The only way for that to happen is to actually start. You may have to take small steps, but take steps!

Do we care enough to be committed? Do we care enough to follow what God COMMANDS us to do? Do we care enough to not let our families fall apart and fall prey to the devil who would like nothing better than to see the continued deterioration of the spiritual family unit right here in Taneytown? Do we care enough to care not only about our own families but about the families in our community? The children in our community? Our Trinity family unit?

At the Congregational Meeting at the end of April I asked people there if they were partners with me in ministry here at Trinity. I asked, "Are you with me?" And the response was an overwhelming "Yes!" So I ask you again here this morning, since many of you were not at the meeting: are you partners with me in ministry?.........Are you going to leave me hanging out to dry by myself?.......

Then if you're with me, stand up, if you're able, and learn this simple song of praise and inspiration and Commitment.

Rise, Shine, Give God the Glory, Glory, Rise, Shine, Give God the Glory, Glory - Rise and Shine and -Clap - Give God the Glory, Glory, Children of the Lord.


Read more sermons by Pastor Brie