Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"The Western Rite" - Deutschlander - Part 5

(from Prof. Em. Daniel M. Deutschlander’s essay, “The Western Rite: Its Development and Rich History and Its Relevance for Our Worship Life Today.”)


Since this section of the Liturgy belongs almost entirely to the Propers, we will be brief. It is perhaps enough to emphasize that the readings for the day are not just warm up exercises for what I am going to say in the pulpit. I remember how annoying it was when one of our vicars regularly stumbled through the reading of the lessons for the day. It seemed that he had not even looked at them before the service. The pastor will certainly remember that the readings are the words of the living God to his people, worthy therefore of careful attention from both the ones who speak them and those who hear them. They express the thought summed up in the Prayer of the Day and they have (or should have) a close connection to the text and content of the sermon. All of the Propers have a common emphasis; they are not grab bags of disconnected thoughts. To the extent that the pastor gives some expression of their coherence, to that extent it will be easier for God’s people to remember both the readings and the sermon. And to that extent there will be less of God’s Word that falls as seed on the path way or in the underbrush of the easily distracted mind, making no impression and bringing forth no fruit.

The practice of multiple readings is as old as Christian worship. It is a continuation of the synagogue practice of readings from the Law and the Prophets. Already in the days of the Apostolic Fathers readings were arranged from the writings of the apostles and from the gospels. Readings from the Old Testament were sometimes added, sometimes not. The Epistle lesson was often thought of as an extension of the work of St. John the Baptist, as preparation for the hearing of the Gospel. Accordingly the reading of the Gospel was surrounded with much ceremony, with candles and incense. We still have the echoes of that ceremony and emphasis when we rise for the reading of the Gospel and attend to it with chants of thanksgiving and praise. Again, it’s not just busy work designed to put people into a listening frame of mind. The readings are God’s descent from his throne on high to the hearts and minds of his people. By his Word he wants to strengthen and cheer, to warn and console, to bind them to himself and then in service to one another.

The responses of Glory be to you, O Lord! and Thanks be to you, O Christ! reflect well the thought that God is the one speaking to us, that Christ is truly and actually present with us in his house and in those readings. How could we not respond thus when we are thus honored by our God and Savior who has again shown himself to us in the might and majesty of his Word for us, his guests? How could we respond other than with praise and thanksgiving that he has done it in the lowliness and humility of words, not in the terrifying thunder and lightening of Sinai?

Some argue about introductions to the readings. Those who dislike the practice of introducing them maintain that anything that the pastor says will be a distraction from the important matter of God’s own speaking. Frankly, I don’t quite follow that argument. Were it valid, then one might just read the sermon text too, and leave it to the Holy Spirit to unfold it for the people of God. Nevertheless the point is well taken, if introductions to the readings become mini sermons. Introductions should be short and to the point; and the point should be to help people see the main point of the reading and how it sets or furthers the theme of the season/day. Sometimes a commentary in the bulletin can be useful in this respect. Given all the space taken up with commercials for this and that in bulletins these days, a short commentary on the theme of the day and a few lines on how each of the readings shows or explains or deepens our appreciation for that theme shouldn’t be considered too much for people to bear. If they can endure a page on the upcoming bowling tournament of the men’s club, another on the impending outing of the Ladies Aid to the candy factory, and yet another on the school’s order sheet for pizza, the proceeds of which will fund new basketballs, a page that sums up the gifts of God in his Word for that day shouldn’t be thought of as a bother.


Lisette Anne Lopez said...

Good read.

AP said...

Reading Pastor Deutschlander's essay really reminds one of the beautiful treasure we have in the divine service. Every part of it has a particular meaning, and every part of it is somehow meant to point lost sinners to the only means through which they can be saved. It connects us with Christians who have used this basic pattern of worship for centuries.

I just find it beyond belief that there are those who would cast this treasure we have aside in favor of the "worship style" of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and that crowd. To paraphrase Robert Koester, those churches are indeed growing, but what are they growing?

Yet, the burden of defense is often placed on those of us who refuse to abandon the divine service. We have to explain ourselves and our worship. Should it not be the other way around? Should the innovators not be made to offer serious, theological explanations and defenses of their practices? Here we are, defending something which sould honestly need no defense in an informed church body, but I have yet to see any reasonable public defense from the other side. Maybe I just missed it somewhere along the way.

Rev. Fr. Spencer said...

The only thing you missed, if at all, was the change among us in our trust of the Means of Grace and the sacred liturgy that delivers this saving medicine to us so very well. After standing firm on Scripture and breaking away, rightfully so, from the LCMS, we got so full of ourselves, that we felt we could do no wrong. We thought that as long as we have the Historical/Gramatical method of hermeneutics, and the Wauwatosa Theology, that we could try all kinds of practices and ideas that we mistakenly thought were "neutral." Thus, we began experimenting with other ways of teaching, preaching, and worshipping. As always, pride goes before the fall. Now we have to pick ourselves up, dust off the clods and dust of sectarian worship, get the Reformed spiders out of our hair, and get back on the road of confessional Lutheranism. I only wonder if we have the will to clean ourselves off before we die from the nasty contamination we've allowed to collect in our church body.

AP said...

Pastor Spencer,

Here is my confession if you will: I did miss it. For a long time. Perhaps like many WELS members, I noticed little things that I found irksome--like children's sermons and fancy LCD screens in church--but did not think much of it. I thought that this was WELS after all. We were the "real" Lutherans--the conservative Lutherans. If one of our pastors was doing this or that, then this or that must be OK. But I started to see more and more irksome things, and I ultimately began to dig deeper. What was driving the changes I was seeing in our church? That is when I found what Church Growth (or whatever name you want to give it) was, how far it had spread, and how great a threat it presents.

The most dangerous thing we face is not, I think, Church Growth. It is our own smug, self-confidence and resultant complacency. Newsflash: WELS is not immune to being corrupted by false doctrine! Read sound books on worship and doctrine and keep reading and learning. Ask your pastors informed questions and (respectfully) keep asking questions until you get real answers. Realize that if something seems wrong, maybe it is worth at least thinking about more deeply. If there are serious problems in your church and nothing else works, vote with your feet. Above all, do not do nothing.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Intrepid Lutherans said...

Dr. Palmer,

"The most dangerous thing we face is not, I think, Church Growth. It is our own smug, self-confidence and resultant complacency."

You hit the nail right on the head! I couldn't have said it better myself! This is exactly the problem. In fact, it is the problem that underlies most, if not all, of our other problems. I have told Pres. Schroeder that what we need more than anything else in WELS is not another "synod Sunday," whatever name we call it, but a "Sunday of Repentance and Humiliation," where we prostrate ourselves before our holy Lord and admit our lack of trust in Him and His Means of Grace, repent of our pride and arrogance and ego, abandon man-made ideas and theories for doing God's work, and re-commit ourselves solely to His divine and saving will. The entire synod - each and every one of us - needs to bow low before our Savior and Lord and plea for His forgiveness, not just for individual sins, but for our collective sin of pride!

We are addicted to ourselves. First, like any addict, we have to admit we have this problem, then we can deal with it. Until we do, all other efforts, including Intrepid Lutherans, will fail to halt the demise of our church body.

Pastor Spencer

And yes, I'm speaking as an Intrepid Lutheran!

PCXIAN said...


How in your world can you consider children's sermons to be irksome?

When the disciples rebuked the parents who were bringing their babies for Jesus to touch, Jesus himself said to let the little children come to him and not to hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Since Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded Jesus’ encounter with children, it must have made for a “teachable moment” for each of them.

The promise, we are told, is for us and our children. David remarks that “from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” Paul said that “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” Certainly, as Jesus said, that includes infants and children.

Most compelling might be Jesus’ prayer, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Hmmm. The wise and learned better take notice.

Are children’s sermons irksome? I don’t think so and neither did our Savior.

P. C. Christian

Anonymous said...

Thank you for Deutschlanders article. Very well done. I am one of those who find the pastor's introduction to the readings a bit annoying because they are not one or two sentences but minisermons and often miss the point. Why not just have a time and let God speak to us through his word without the pastor commenting. As to why not do the same for the sermon, that is a straw man argument. The word section is called readings or lessons. The sermon is called a sermon because it is meant to expound the text or comment on the text. Different portions of service are for different things. Comparing readings to sermon is like comparing apples to oranges. I always wanted to say that to some one else. I have had it said to me often.
Rod Dietsche.

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

Excellent points I am reading, in defense to what is true and right.

Bravo, and we'll say it again Intrepids!

Anonymous said...

P.C. Christian,

All of the points you made about our Savior's love for children are very good. However, they do not apply to having children's sermons in worship at all. Notice the context of Jesus inviting the children to come to him. It was not in public worship. That's a point that many, many people miss or ignore. During public worship, Jesus followed the very formal synagogue order of service (the same order of service on which the liturgy is based). Jesus never would have dared to stop the synagogue service to invite the kids to sit up front as he pulled out a cheap little object and told a cute story.

See, the truth is that children's sermons come directly from the sectarian teaching that little children DON'T have real faith and thus DON'T have a real part in what goes on in worship. Thus, having children's sermons actually proclaims the exact of the things that you stated above. If we truly believe that children have real faith, we will trust that the Holy Spirit works to strengthen that faith through the liturgical songs and lessons and sermon, just as he does for adults.

There are many, many reasons not to have children's sermons, but the best and most compelling reason is that they come directly from false teaching (teaching that children are on a different "level" of faith), and (because of lex orandi, lex credendi) they continue to teach these false doctrines even when used in Lutheran worship.

Rod Dietsche,

I completely agree with you about introductions to the lessons. You're absolutely right that comparing lessons with the sermon is not an accurate comparison. The lessons are a time simply to hear God speak to us in his Word, the sermon is the place for expounding on the Word. Like you, I very much dislike the "mini-sermons" before each lesson.

Pastors, instead of these mini-sermons, preach liturgical (not just textual) sermons. If your sermon focuses on the theme for the day, it will naturally explain the main point of each of the lessons.

Mr. Adam Peeler

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

We were taught at the seminary not to preach mini-sermons before each Lesson, nor to summarize the Lesson, but, in one sentence, to make the connection between the Lesson and the Gospel theme of the day.

I did this for several years, then went to printing this sentence or two in the service folder without speaking it. Now I usually say nothing to introduce the Lessons, but almost always refer to one or all of them in the sermon.

More and more I appreciate the liturgy for what it is, rather than trying to embellish it here and there with my own additions or alterations.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, having children's sermons actually proclaims the exact of the things that you stated above."

Oops. That should say: Thus, having children's sermons actually proclaims the exact OPPOSITE of the things that you stated above."

Mr. Adam Peeler

PCXIAN said...

Adam Peeler said:

"During public worship, Jesus followed the very formal synagogue order of service (the same order of service on which the liturgy is based). Jesus never would have dared to stop the synagogue service to invite the kids to sit up front as he pulled out a cheap little object and told a cute story." Really? I'm surprised that you allow infants and adults to be baptized in your services because Jesus and his diciples didn't do that in the synagogue either.

I can't even begin to argue against your point, since its so ridiculous. I'll take Jesus' comments about ministering to infants and little children anyday over your opinion. Put your legalistic attitude in a locked box and start reading the Word.

I don't like to say this but where do you neo-Pharisees come up with this stuff?

P. C. Christian

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

P.C. Christian,

You're right that you can't begin to argue against Mr. Peeler's point, because your argument makes no sense. You were the one who equated Jesus welcoming children in his arms in a non-worship setting to a children's sermon in a worship setting. That's a very poor analogy. Mr. Peeler was right to point out your logical fallacy.

Mr. Peeler's remarks have nothing to do with Pharisaism, as you so uncharitably charge. His statement was faithful to the context of the Scriptures. Yours was not. You should be slower to accuse others of being legalistic when, in fact, it is your own argument that twists the words of the Gospels.

You've taken an apple and called it an orange. Then when someone comes along and says, "No, that's an apple," you call him a Pharisee. When you play the Pharisee card in such a way, you prove that you have no real argument, but just a practice that you really love. You seem unwilling to be bothered with the facts.

PCXIAN said...


It doesn't make any difference whether Jesus welcomed children in a worship or non-worship setting. Let's face it. Anytime the disciples were around Jesus it was a teachable moment. Reaching out to children with the Word was Jesus' command. Whether that is in the home, school, or in a church service shouldn't matter to us mere humans. We are simply told to do it.

You say Adam Peeler statement was faithful to the context of the Scriptures yet he didn't even mention one piece of Scripture to back up his opinion (most of your other commentator’s don't cite Scripture, either). Again, I'll take Jesus' statements any day over man' opinion.

Neo-pharisaism? What? Being concerned whether the pastor gives a brief introduction before he reads the Gospel, or whether a pastor develops his own order of service rather than use page 15 and 15, or not allowing a variety of instruments in a worship service isn't legalism?

P.C. Christian

Anonymous said...

P.C. Christian,

I really don't have anything to say to you other than what Pastor Rydecki has already said.

You've called me a Pharisee and a legalist. Do you understand what a serious charge that is? If you're going to make a charge like that, then it is your loving responsibility to demonstrate to me just where I have erred and substituted the law for the gospel.

In fact, I value the gospel highly and desire it to be preached clearly to all, including children. But here's what you don't seem to understand. Unlike the sectarians, I believe that faith is created and strengthened in children through the gospel. Unlike the sectarians, I believe that the faith of children is strengthened as the gospel is proclaimed in every part of the liturgy, including (gasp) the regular sermon, which is meant for all Christians, including children. Unlike the sectarians, I believe that children are full-fledged members of God's Kingdom, and don't need to be pandered to or separated unnecessarily and arbitrarily from other members of the body of Christ.

If you believe I am in error in saying those things, please show me how. Also, if you believe that I am in error when I claim that Jesus followed the formal order of synagogue worship or that the Christian liturgy is largely derived from this order or worship, please show me how.

Otherwise, I hope it's clear that my statements are based firmly in the power of the gospel and a careful study of God's Word (e.g. Luke 4)

Mr. Adam Peeler

Anonymous said...

P.C. Christian,

I saw your latest post only after submitting my latest post.

I'd like to respond to some of the things you just said:

"Reaching out to children with the Word was Jesus' command. Whether that is in the home, school, or in a church service shouldn't matter to us mere humans."

I agree with this statement. But you don't seem to understand that every part of the liturgy already reaches out to children with the gospel in the church service. Children's sermons actually send the opposite message. They subtly (or not so subtly) send the message to children and adults that there's nothing in the rest of the service for kids, that kids need something other than regular liturgical worship in order to be reached out to, that the gospel present in the rest of the service isn't effective in children.

Nor should we be surprised that children's sermons send such a message, since that's precisely the message they were designed to send!

Nothing could be further from the truth though. As I said previously, the gospel is already present in every part of liturgical worship. In fact, liturgical worship was specifically designed to communicate the gospel to children and the unlearned. Children thrive on the regular repetition found in the liturgy.

"You say Adam Peeler statement was faithful to the context of the Scriptures yet he didn't even mention one piece of Scripture to back up his opinion"

In case you missed it, I would recommend you study Luke 4 and see how Jesus very strictly followed the synagogue order of service. He even stood up and sat down at exactly the specified times!

"Being concerned whether the pastor gives a brief introduction before he reads the Gospel"

Could you show me where someone made a law about this and threatened God's punishment to all who disobeyed? No? I didn't think so. We're simply discussing what's best and most beneficial, not creating new laws.

See, that's what responsible Christians do. Not only do they ask, "What's permissable?", they also ask, "What's beneficial?"

"or whether a pastor develops his own order of service rather than use page 15 and 15"

Again, could you show me where anyone said God's wrath would fall upon anyone who violates page 15? No? I didn't think so.

But again, I would ask if it were truly beneficial for a pastor to write his own services. Can a pastor really write a better service on one Friday afternoon than one put together over millennia by apostles and martyrs and church fathers and reformers?

"not allowing a variety of instruments in a worship service"

Not to repeat myself, but could you show me who has said this? No? Didn't think so.

In my experience, I've seen a far greater variety of instrumentation used with liturgical worship than with contemporary worship. The only instruments I've ever seen used for contemporary worship are guitars, drums, and piano. However, I've seen organ, piano, trumpet, trombone, tuba, flute, oboe, guitar, timpani, handbells, and more used in liturgical worship.

P.C. Christian, your comments seem to be nothing more than baseless, inaccurate, uncharitable attacks. I would encourage you to devote some serious thought to these topics before we continue this line of discussion. I'd love to keep talking about these things with you, but I fear it will be fruitless if you keep arguing against points that have never been made.

Mr. Adam Peeler

PCXIAN said...


I have heard hundreds of "children's messages." Each one of these messages was applicable to teenagers, twenty-somethings, middle-agers, octogenarians, and children. These messages proclaimed the Word of God to all, not just the children. In fact, using the term "children's messages" is really a misnomer, isn't it, since the message, i.e., the Good News, applies to all?

Specifically, saying then that a "children's message" is inappropriate in a worship service or "irksome" is then saying that God's Word is the same.

Evidently, you have never attended a Jewish service in a synagogue. I have. This service in no way represents the liturgical service or any other Christian worship service. Yes, there are some commonalities, that all religious services have, but these services lack the main element – the Gospel.

And even though the liturgical service is, indeed, hundreds of years old, it still is man-made. There is no specific "liturgical order of service" anywhere annotated or directed in the New Testament. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” Jesus required no specific liturgical order of service, just believing hearts.

Do I think some of the topics and opinions stated in this blog are legalistic? Yes I do. Christian freedom is a wonderful blessing given to us by God. We don't want to abuse it by pushing the envelope or by being so stringent so that by our actions or traditions we inadvertently or unknowingly, turn people away from the Word.

I go back to St Paul's comment, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” He meant it. Sometimes, like Paul, we need to step out of our bubble to proclaim the Word, and yes, that just might be talking to children at their cognitive level or addressing adults specifically to their spiritual needs. Jesus told us to be "fishers of men" not keepers of the aquarium. God is the keeper of the aquarium. The Word SHALL never change but the presentation can.

In review of my original point, “children’s messages” are appropriate in our worship services because they are proclaiming God’s Word.

Continue to state your positions. I urge you always to back your positions with Scripture.

P. C. Christian

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Mr. Christian,

I wish you would actually respond to Mr. Peeler's points rather than sidestepping them.

In your words, "In fact, using the term 'children's messages' is really a misnomer, isn't it, since the message, i.e., the Good News, applies to all?" This is precisely the point we've been trying to make. The message, i.e., the Good News, is already being preached to all in the sermon (and in the rest of the liturgy), including to the children. What you're really advocating is a two-sermon service: one that will benefit all (the children's message) and another that will not really benefit the children (the regular sermon).

No one is saying that a children's message is sinful. All your charges of legalism and Pharisaism are out of place and uncharitable.

What we're saying is that 1) it's an unnecessary addition to the liturgical service, and 2) it's an addition that flows, not from a Scriptural concern for children, but from a sectarian belief that the Means of Grace are less effective on children.

You throw in the red herring of the modern synagogue service. Your attendance at synagogue has nothing to do with this discussion. Mr. Peeler was referring to the historical reality of the Service of the Word deriving from the first-century synagogue service.

This service had the Gospel, for it had Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures. (Who on earth is claiming that the modern Jewish synagogue has the Gospel? Another straw man.) When Christ came and the Scriptures were fulfilled, the message of Christ was explained in the synagogue by Jesus (Luke 4) and by the Apostle Paul on countless occasions. For hundreds and hundreds of years, Christians, in their "freedom," retained the basic Service of the Word from the old synagogue service. They added the Service of the Sacrament, and there you have the liturgy.

You seem to think the Church was shirking her responsibilities over the centuries by not including a children's sermon in the liturgy, as if our sophisticated modern minds have only now finally figured out what children REALLY need and how to REALLY welcome them as Jesus did. Of course! A children's sermon! Sectarian churches to the rescue!

If you think you've found something better than the liturgy, fine! But don't call it Lutheran, please. And don't be surprised when some of us advocate for the wisdom of the Church catholic and expose the false theology behind the practices of the sects.

Anonymous said...

Well said Pastor Rydecki! Thanks for your words.

I'd just like to add one more thing.

Many people seem to think that Christian freedom is all about getting rid of things: "We should get rid of liturgical worship and the church year and any that's traditional, because, after all, we have Christian freedom."

But Christian freedom really isn't about the freedom to get rid of things (except sin). Christian freedom is really about the freedom to cling to what is good.

The Apostles could have invented a totally new order of service for the Christian church. Instead, though, they saw that the synagogue service had proven through centuries of use that it was a good thing. In Christian freedom they clung to what was good rather than using freedom as an excuse to do something new for the sake of doing something new.

Likewise, Martin Luther could have abolished the Mass and invented a totally new order of service. Instead, though, he saw that the Mass had proven through a millennium and a half of use that it was a good thing. In Christian freedom he continued to use the Mass rather than using Christian freedom as an excuse to do something new for the sake of doing something new.

In the same way, pastors and churches cannot insert sectarian novelties (e.g. children's sermons) into the liturgy or abolish liturgical worship entirely and then simply proclaim "Christian freedom!" to justify their actions. Doing so is an abuse of Christian freedom.

We are certainly free to make changes to the way we worship. But such changes MUST be made because they have been proven beneficial, not simply because they have been proven free. In other words, Christian freedom is always the beginning of the discussion, not the ending of it.

The Apostles and Reformers used their Christian freedom not to get rid of things but to cling to things. Would that we would follow their examples!

Mr. Adam Peeler

AP said...

Mr. Christian,

It appears that the word "irksome" has, well, irked you. I think Mr. Peeler and Pastor Rydecki have posted some really great responses, especially to your use what I call the "puppies arguement."

It goes like this. Sally brings home a puppy, but her husband Bill says he does not want a dog. Sally says, "Why? You don't HATE puppies do you? Of course you do! What other possible reason could there be for you not wanting this one? Puppy hater!"

According to your logic, those who oppose children's sermons are ogres who just do not care about children. Additionally, those who oppose Church Growth must also not care about the gospel. We must not really love Jesus. Thus, we are Pharisees--law mongers who have no use for the saving Gospel of Christ. What a complete load of nonsense, and what an unkind, uninformed attack!

You wrote, "Each one of these messages was applicable to teenagers, twenty-somethings, middle-agers, octogenarians, and children."

If that is true, then why have a "children's sermon" at all? Why not just have the usual sermon that should be applicable to everyone in the room. Children are sinners too. They need the law and the gospel as much as anyone. What they particularly need is instruction. Sunday school, the home, or day school, not the divine liturgy, are the places for instructing children.

Moreover, your statement implies a core Church Growth idea: the gospel must be made relevant for a given audience in order to be effective. So, we have to make it "cool" with rock bands and shiney things to reach teen agers. It places the power of bringing and keeping people in faith in man's hands intead of the hands of the Holy Spirit. This is not legalism. It is false doctrine. Any tool of this false doctrine should be marked and avoided.

Answer me this: if we look, and sound, and act like ELCA (some of their churches feature mid-service puppet shows!), at what point to we become ELCA? Where do we draw the line? If we in WELS want to smugly accuse ECLA and, well, everyone esle, of false doctrine, then WHY are we following directly in their footsteps? Oh, I know. It is fine because we are WELS. More nonsense.

I think you should also ask what the children's sermons are really for. Are they really for the children? No, I don't think so. They are for the parents who like to see little Jimmy and Susie bumbling up to the altar and who like to smile, wave, and giggle mid-service at how cute the little kiddies are. If the parents have fun in this way, maybe they will keep coming to church and, maybe, the church will even grow!

If you want this kind of worship, go to ELCA. You will get all of it that you can handle and more. We do not want it in our WELS churches.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Lisette Anne Lopez said...

Wow to all!
I think each and everyone of us should go back in our minds to when we were children. Now, when we went to church (before the age of Catechism classes), we sat in the pew, maybe doodled a little on the bulletin, looked up saw the pastor, heard the pastor and sometimes didn't hear the pastor. We attended Sunday School at the age level appropriate for us and we learned Scripture lessons etc...Then our parents woke us up once more on Sunday, put us in the car, and we did it all over again, every week. Now, as we continued Sunday School and regularly attended church we grew into understanding first that all of what was happening was in some way important. Maybe we didn't understand it completely yet but we understood that our parents wanted and made us attend church, Sunday School, just as they did. Then we thought about it more and as time passed we realized the pastor in the pulpit was talking for a reason, that the Sunday School teacher was teaching for a reason. Our hearts began to grow in love and our eyes began to slowly become more open and aware that God was speaking through the pastors and likewise through his Scripture in Sunday School class. We learned there is a Triune God, we grew learning that we should pray and we learned how to pray. We also learned the Ten Commandments and that we need a Savior and that His name is Jesus etc... Then as we kept learning as God directed us; we began to recognize Jesus, we started to listen to the pastor at church even more than before- as we grew. We started to look, and see, and hear. And finally we began to understand that God came into us, through the Holy Spirit and created faith through the Holy Spirit. We learned as children we were sinful and that we needed a Savior. We never needed childrens sermons during the church service- we weren't ignorant, we knew we had been ignorant that we were sinners. And so with our parents bringing us to church, bringing us to Sunday School we grew in faith through the Lord and we began to understand that God is real, that God is love and that through Scripture, through the Pastors messages, his sermons, his approval that we have upright Sunday School lessons, that this came all from God, and that He was our main focus. We as children were special but not so special that we needed special attention. We were the same as that old lady sitting next to us in the pew. We were in need of saving faith.

In time we took Catechism classes etc... Then we brought our own selves to church every Sunday. We kept the faith God gave us, we kept Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, we kept praying that the Holy Spirit would continue to abide in us, still, and God did not change His mind when He gave us what He knew we needed.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
2 Timothy 3:14-15.

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