From the Word: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. (Luke 4:16)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The Third Commandment
Whenever this is observed and practiced, a true holy day is being kept. Otherwise, it cannot be considered a Christian holy day. Non-Christians can also cease from work and be idle, just like an entire swarm of our clergy who stand daily in the churches, singing and ringing bells but not sanctifying the holy day, because they do not preach or practice God’s Word, but teach and live contrary to it.
Pulling It Together: Great blessing awaits those who have developed the practice of going to worship on the Lord’s Day. But if they attend church only to go through the motions, not truly involved in the what is happening, then are they sanctifying the day to themselves? However, if their hearts are moved by the words of Scripture when the cantor or pastor sings the liturgy, if they name in those same hearts someone in need as the litany is prayed, then they are holying the day. If they hang on the day’s readings as the lector reads the Old and New Testaments, and perhaps go so far as considering how the two readings are related, then they are truly observing the day as holy. If they reflect on the Psalter as they respond, and sing the hymns while actually thinking about the words, then they are hallowing the day to themselves. Then, if they hear the gospel, and the pastor proclaims it to an attentive ear, the Spirit will have a soul to bless, and one that will, no doubt, be a blessing to others.
Prayer: Bless me, Lord, with your word, and help me to hear and keep what is written in it, for the time is near. Amen.
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Three Keys to What Lutherans Believe is a three-session introduction to themes in Lutheran theology. By focusing on key biblical concepts, it demonstrates the primary themes that Lutherans emphasize in thinking about the Christian faith and the teachings of Scripture. The study may be particularly suited to new member classes, adult baptismal or confirmation instruction, or for use with young adults. For use in shorter sessions, leaders may choose to divide each lesson into two parts to create a six-week study.