Catechesis integrating the Small Catechism with the Liturgy — Didache by Prof. John Pless
It seems like pastors are always looking for some ways in which to catechize their members of all ages (new or veteran ones) in the truths of the Scriptures and the Catechism. This is what most catechetical materials are built around, but it often misses a third key to the Christian life, how our beliefs from Scripture and Catechism find their expression in our daily lives or in our worship (best found in the hymnal). It can be said that the three most essential works for a Lutheran to have would be the Bible, the Small Catechism, and the Hymnal. Catechesis should help reinforce that.
“Didache” is a resource which seeks to do just that. I have used it in catechesis in the past and it was a wonderful way to teach the faith and our expression of it in worship to new members coming out of a non-liturgical, non-sacramental background (heads up for all of those former evangelicals that have fallen off of the emotional roller coaster of evangelicalism). Connecting the Scriptures to the Catechism to the Hymnal is a great thing to do for our people.
Formerly Didache could be obtained from University Lutheran Chapel of Minneapolis, MN where Professor Pless served as a pastor. Now courtesy of Emmanuel Press it has been revamped and updated to fit with Lutheran Service Book and also expanded from its already excellent previous state. From their description:
Didache instructs in a basic pattern of catechesis which recognizes that doctrine is drawn from the Holy Scriptures, confessed in Luther’s Small Catechism, and expressed in the hymnal. Using the structure of the Catechism, Prof. John Pless guides the reader deeper into these three books, demonstrating the interplay between what Lutherans confess (doctrine), how we receive Christ’s gifts in the Divine Service (liturgy), and how we pray and live under the cross of Jesus Christ (vocation). Each chapter begins with a collect and ends with a suggested hymn, making Didache an ideal instruction manual for adult catechesis as well as a personal study guide into the Holy Scriptures. There are numerous Scripture references in the margins along with ample space for note-taking.
The cost for Didache is only $12, which is a good price considering the material involved. If you go to the Emmanuel Press page for the work you can see some samples from it and browse it for yourself.
I would recommend this for pastors looking to catechize new members and help current members connect the dots between Bible to Catechism to Hymnal. I would also recommend this for any Lutheran looking to have those dots connected for themselves.