Lutheran Schools and the Small Catechism — guest article by Andrew Strickland

smallCatechismChristmas shopping is always an exciting endeavor. By exciting I mean terrifyingly hectic. By terrifyingly hectic I mean I wish I had gotten it done much earlier. On one of those shopping adventures I ran into a former student. We talked for a short while before we both resumed our separate shopping quests. During the conversation I learned that the student did not remember much of what was learned in my classroom*, but the student did remember much of the lessons we had of the Small Catechism. That student mentioned that through all of the years at a Lutheran school the catechism was so helpful during the difficult times. The student went on to recite this:

“I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.”**

What a powerful reminder for me! Daily in the classroom there is so much to get done. With state standards, class, curriculum, interrupting events, and field trips*** it is easy to push the Small Catechism and even the Bible to the background. I have been sorely tempted to do this and I confess, to my shame, that I have done this very thing. The pressure to get all of the work done in the classroom is high. Yet I have learned through the years that the last thing I should do is to push the Bible and the Small Catechism to the background. I have learned the importance of daily reading them and teaching my students about them. That encounter with a former student powerfully reminded me of the blessing of teaching in a Lutheran school and confirmed for me that despite all of the things that happen in the classroom teaching the Bible and Catechism should never be substituted.

*that was great for my ego


*** to name only a few

 Andrew Strickland was Baptized in the Lutheran church, but was raised and Chrismated in the Antiochian Orthodox church. Having attended Lutheran schools most of his life it came as no surprise that he left the Orthodox church for the LC-MS. He is the 7th and 8th grade teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School Prior Lake, Minnesota and is completing his 13th year of teaching middle school. He has been married to Amanda for almost 13 years. They have two children; a kindergarten aged son who he gets to take to and from school daily and a beautiful daughter who is 18 months old. In his spare time he loves to fish, play epic board games, grow vegetables, and stay up late reading blogs.

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