Going Deeper 08.25.2021

The first reading for Pentecost 14... Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9

So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you... You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today? But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—

It is fitting for this text to be read during the time of year when most churches are emphasizing the importance of Christian Education...  "make them known to your children and your children’s children."  Indeed, Lutherans have been front and center when it comes to the importance of Christian education, with Lutheran schools from preschools through universities across the country (and beyond!) seeking to teach the content of the Christian faith.  We have worked hard at education.

Next year will mark my 40th anniversaries-- of marriage and ministry-- the majority of the latter in the role of "Director of Christian Education."  I have sought to be a good teacher and to develop and support good ministries designed to instruct children, youth, and adults about the Bible and the teachings of the Christian faith.  Looking back, I now believe that our focus has been too much on teaching information and not enough on nurturing a relationship.

The Sinai Covenant, which again serves as the backdrop for this week's Old Testament reading, began with the declaration "I am your God..."  We can memorize that statement and learn that we believe in the God of Biblical History.  All well and good.  But we must also come to see this engages us in a relationship, one which-- like all relationships-- needs to be nurtured.  This Creator of the Universe knows me by name and is director available to me via prayer.  God's Son also loves me very much and has promised to be with me always through the Holy Spirit.

This isn't merely about learning facts.  It is about a very real relationship.

With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"