Our Mission Statement:
The Mission of St. Mark Lutheran Church is to answer the C.A.L.L. of our Savior.
To CONNECT with people in their everyday lives
To ADVANCE the Gospel through God's Word and Sacrament
To LEND ourselves in service and fellowship to others
To become instruments that LEAD others to salvation through Christ
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH-MISSOURI SYNOD – In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of the LCMS is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world. Website: www.lcms.org
Article: What is Luther's Small Catechism?
The Small Catechism, written by Martin Luther in 1529, is a collection of questions and answers on six topics: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father (the Lord’s Prayer), the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar. Luther wanted the Catechism to be used by the head of the household to teach the family the Christian faith and life.
Also included with the Small Catechism are daily prayers, a table of duties for Christians in their various callings in life, and a guide for Christians to use as they prepare to receive Holy Communion. Most editions of Luther’s Small Catechism also come with an explanation of the Catechism, which is a longer collection of questions and answers with extensive quotations from the Bible. These explanations have a long history and were added during Luther’s lifetime.
Why did Luther write the Small Catechism?
Luther answers that question in the preface to the Small Catechism:
“The deplorable, miserable conditions which I recently observed when visiting the parishes have constrained and pressed me to put this Catechism of Christian doctrine into this brief, plain, and simple form. How pitiable, so help me God, were the things I saw: the common man, especially in the villages, knows practically nothing of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are almost entirely incompetent and unable to teach. Yet all the people are supposed to be Christians, have been baptized, and receive the Holy Sacrament even though they do
not know the Our Father, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments and live like poor animals of the barnyard and pigpen. What these people have mastered, however, is the fine art of tearing all Christian liberty to shreds.”
You can tell how strongly Luther felt about the need for a clear explanation of the Christian faith and life! Luther also wrote what is known as the Large Catechism. The Large Catechism is yet another excellent resource that most adults find very helpful after studying the Small Catechism. Your pastor can help you obtain a copy of the Large Catechism.
What is the benefit of the Small Catechism?
The Small Catechism is an excellent summary of what the Bible, God’s Word, teaches us. The shape of the Catechism is the shape of the Christian life: Repentance (Ten Commandments), Faith (Creed), Prayer (Our Father), Forgiveness of Sins (Baptism, Absolution, Lord’s Supper), then daily prayer and our daily work. It is very important for us to learn by heart the truths of God's Word as summarized and beautifully explained in the Small Catechism. God uses the precious truths of His Word to keep us strong and growing in our faith in Jesus Christ. The Catechism helps us understand God’s Law, which shows us our sin, and how we are to live as His people. The Catechism beautifully articulates the Gospel, the good news of Jesus’life, death and resurrection for our salvation.
Luther realized that the truths of God’s Word, as summarized by the Small Catechism, were matters of eternal life and death. They are the most important truths we can ever know. It is genuinely unfortunate when people think they no longer need the Small Catechism and say to themselves, “That’s enough of that; now I can move on to more important things.”
How can the Small Catechism be used in the life of the individual Christian?
Luther offers us good advice when he writes in the Large Catechism, "Every morning and evening, and whenever I have time, I read and say word-for-word the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Psalms, etc. I must still read and study the Catechism daily, yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and I gladly do it.” The Small Catechism is intended to be a prayer book for individuals and families. As we meditate on the various portions of the Catechism, we look for instruction from God, then look for what we can thank God for, then for what we need to confess to God and, finally, we finish our prayerful meditation by asking God for His blessing and mercy so we may live according to His Word. It is in this way that daily use of the Catechism is a powerful tool for the Christian life.