Dear Friends and Members of Shepherd of the Hills,


On Wednesday I have had the privilege of spending time with some of you learning the Small Catechism.  One thing I always emphasize as we study Luther’s Small Catechism is that this is a Bible study.  The catechism is just a summary of all that is written in Holy Scriptures.  Therefore it is always good for us to study.  


Question 12 in our explanation to the catechism ask the question, “What is the Small Catechism?”  It answers it in this ways.

For centuries, Christians have used three important text as a basic summary for teaching the Christian faith and life:  The Ten Commandments, Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer.  Martin Luther helpfully included biblical passages on Baptism, Confession, and the Lord’s Supper.  The Small Catechism, written by Luther in 1529, includes these texts along with brief explanations.  The expanded Explanations section is prepared a s teaching and learning tool.


Question 13 asks, “What are the central, or chief, parts of Christian teaching and life?”  

1. God makes known His will through the Ten Commandments, which summarize how God wants us to love Him and love our neighbor and also reveal our sin and inability to keep God's Law.

2. The Creed summarizes who God is and what He has done for the world: creating and preserving all things out of fatherly love; redeeming the world in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and calling and gathering believers into the Church by the Holy Spirit.

3. In the Lord's Prayer (or the Our Father), God the Son teaches Christians how to pray as God's own dear children, confident that what we are praying pleases Him and is for our good.

4. Scripture teaches us that in Holy Baptism, we are cleansed from our sins and belong to the one true God, Father, Son, and Spirit, whom we trust for life and salvation.

5. As God's believing, baptized children, we still battle against sins of thought, word, and deed. But God graciously has given special authority to His Church on earth to forgive the sins of the penitent and to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant (Office of the Keys and Confession).

6. God welcomes His children to the Sacrament of the Altar (Lord's Supper), where Christ gives us His body to eat and His blood to drink with the bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sins and to strengthen our faith.


This is the document we use in our church to declare our unity in faith.  We are constant learners of God’s Word and are always being conformed by this Word.  Even if you are not in the class on Wednesdays I encourage you to break open that catechism and find where you are challenged in your life by God’s Word.  Then celebrate all the wonderful ways God has given you his gifts through that same Word.


Blessings to each and everyone of you.  It is a joy to teach and learn God’s Word with you in our Bible studies, prayers, and the Divine Service. In other words…it is a joy to be your pastor. 


In His Love and Service,

Pastor Rust