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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 148

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From the Word: 1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name. Make his deeds known among the peoples. 2 Sing to him; sing praises to him. Meditate on all his marvelous works. 3 Glory in his holy name. Let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Seek the Lord and his strength. Constantly seek his face. 5 Remember the wondrous things that he has done: his miracles and the judgments that he pronounced. (Psalm 105:1–5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Do not give up hope about the church. God’s Spirit is still calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying his people. In doing so, he unites the whole Christian church on earth with Christ, thereby preserving it in the one true faith. Give thanks. Sing to him. Glory in the Name. Continually seek his face. Remember his marvelous works, for these works of calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying are his works in us. Without the Spirit’s work in this catholic church, despite our best efforts, it would not be the church at all, for it would not be a holy church. The church requires the work of God to make it holy. In order to make it holy, this uniting with Christ must take place and be preserved. This is not something we can do; it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that unites us with Christ and therefore, makes the catholic church wholly holy. Therefore, our hope for the church must always be in the Lord of the church.

Prayer: I remember, O Lord, the wonderful things you have done for me—and for your whole church on earth. Amen.

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