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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 76

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From the Word: 6 Do not worry about anything, but make your requests about everything known to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. 7 And the peace of God, which excels all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together: We live in a time that is sometimes lamented as a post-Christian era in the United States. Complaints range from social media shutting out anything Christian, to the public square no longer allowing the church a voice. It is true enough: although some town Councils still have prayer before their meetings, even the smallest of communities feel the pressure to offer either a more general religious voice or none at all. What are Christians to do in such times?

American Christians are spoiled; we have lived in “one country under God” for hundreds of years. It is what we have always known—until now—and what we think should still be. The early church was under no such illusion. The church in other parts of the world today are also not so deluded. Here in America, however, we hope complaining will fix the problem.

First, the culture is not the problem; we are the problem. Complaining is not living the life of a disciple. Instead of grumpily whining, we ought to be carrying the peace of Christ into the lives of those we encounter every day. You have to admit, moaning about our dissatisfactions does not look too peace-filled. The complaining nature is a killer; it breaks the Fifth Commandment, often, without realizing it is doing so.

So, let us stop fearing the contemporary, and cease loving the past. Let us begin fearing and loving God instead, so that we, not only do no bodily harm, but not cause our neighbors any other kind of suffering. Suppose we feared and loved God in a way that prays for our neighbors, helps them, and befriends them in every need. Perhaps in this manner, we might offer our neighbors that peace that surpasses understanding—and discover again, that God’s peace even excels our own anxieties.

Prayer: Help me to fear, love, and trust you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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