From the Word: 59 And he said to another, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, allow me to first go and bury my father.” 60 But he said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59–60)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
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.)
It is a far greater thing to honor people than to love them. Honor requires love, modesty, humility, and deference, as though toward a majesty hidden within. It obliges not only that we address them kindly and reverently, but above all, that we show how we esteem them so highly, through actions of the heart and body. We must demonstrate that we give them the highest status next to God. Anyone who is to be truly honored in the heart must be actually regarded as high and great.
Pulling It Together: We should regard our parents with the greatest respect, for this is our duty before God. Whether we like them or not, or even if they do not treat us well, they are to be honored because God commands us to do so. Yet be clear, though we are to honor them so highly that we regard them as being next to God, we are not to place them above him, nor equal to him. The demands of honoring God may sometimes seem to interfere with our understanding of honoring mother and father. The obligations of his kingdom sometimes outweigh the needs of family. Yet, even those things may be accomplished while honoring our parents. We show our respect to our earthly parents by honoring first and foremost the heavenly parent who commands us to honor them.
Prayer: Give me a heart for my parents, Lord, and the actions to match my heart. Amen.
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This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing.