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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 63

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From the Word

Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no power except from God, and those that exist are established by God. Therefore, the one who resists the authorities, opposes the ordinance of God, and those who dissent will receive condemnation. For rulers are not an object of dread to moral behavior, but to the evil. And would you have no fear of authority? Do good and you will have his esteem, for he is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for no reason. For he is a servant of God, an avenger who administers punishment on the one who performs evil. Therefore the requirement is to be submissive, not only because of the punishment, but also for conscience. 6 For this reason you also pay taxes, since they are ministers of God, devoted to this very duty. Give everyone their due: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:1–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

God has placed additional people in authority over us. We are to honor our parents above all others, second only to God, but the Scripture and the Catechism teach us to honor other authorities too. It may be a school teacher or principal, or later in life, an employer, a police officer, a government official—not to mention many other such examples of authority in our lives. It is of no advantage for us to disobey or make their lives difficult. God has established these forms of authority so that life will not devolve into anarchy. It is our responsibility to support and honor them, for in doing so we obey and honor God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all of your servants. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Hymns and Spiritual Songs from The North is a compilation of Nordic hymns. In the spirit of Martin Luther, such a hymn is usually a meditation or sermon on a Biblical text that grows out of the text for a Sunday. Sometimes it is long and slow, even mournful, giving singers the possibility of meditating on God's Word in their own context. Less often it is joyful, but it is always filled with longing and hope. We can imagine the grandma, during long dark winters, sitting by the fire, spinning or knitting as she sang stanza after stanza of an old favorite hymn or spiritual song, teaching her grandchildren to sing along with her. When they learned to lisp those words with her, they were learning how Scripture could be used to meet the deepest sorrows and the greatest joys of life.

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