Peace Lutheran Church
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
With the beginning of a new month, our attention once more turns to the season of confirmation and graduation. One of the many nuggets of wisdom that will be shared by well-wishers with both those who are being confirmed and those who are graduating is not to forget what they have worked so hard to learn the past few years.
Strangely enough, you will actually use algebra at some point in your life; reading that classic novel will actually come in handy at some point; learning parts of the Periodic Table will prove to be beneficial; if only because you will know the answers when watching Jeopardy.
Yet, while there are many occasions which you can point to and say ‘I remember hearing about that in school’, remembering what you learned in confirmation actually holds a different role. You are not remembering your catechism to answer questions on Jeopardy, rather you are remembering it to ward off the attacks of the devil.
Learning the catechism is more of a preventative action. You learn the catechism to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed by the lies of the devil. You learn the catechism to prevent yourself from being tricked by those who come bearing false promises. You learn the catechism to prevent yourself from falling away from the faith.
The immediate consequence of forgetting algebra is that you are at the mercy of others to guide you through when the topic comes up. On the surface, it may appear that there are no consequences of forgetting the catechism. After all, once you are confirmed, you will not be questioned again. But the effects are still there, hiding beneath the surface. The promises of your Baptism may begin to seem small and meaningless. The benefits of the Lord’s Supper will soon seem inconsequential. The certainty of forgiveness and eternal salvation are all of a sudden a lot less certain.
Forgetting the catechism is a lot more than just losing words off of a page, it is losing your identity; it is losing your certainty in the Word of God; it is ultimately losing your faith and salvation.
What happens when you forget? The devil sees his chance. The devil is always attacking, but when you know the catechism, when you know the faith, then you have the weapons to ward off his attacks. You can defend yourself with Bible verses and with the promises that you learned. But when these tools are no longer there, you will find yourself helpless to his attacks, and soon you will be overtaken.
So as you graduate, as you are confirmed, do not just shrug off those words of advice to not forget what you learned. Take it from those who have forgotten what they have learned and have had to relearn: it is hard, it is slow, and while it is worth it, it would have been so much easier to have never forgotten in the first place.
On top of this encouragement to not forget what you learned is to likewise not to stop learning. The catechism provides the basic foundation, but that foundation needs to be built upon. There are many resources available both online and in print that can help one continue building their faith. Might I make two suggestions to get you started: Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions is a readers-edition of the Book of Concord, which contains the basis of the Lutheran faith, and is a valuable resource to help you in building up your faith. For online resources, start with the church facebook page where every Wednesday there is a link to a resource to help you grow in the faith.