Saturday, July 30, 2016

A plea. . . the Word of God in season and out. . .

As I write this I just finished preparing for the adult Bible study I lead on Sunday mornings -- yes, we continue all summer long without break!  More than this, we do not break for the children's Sunday school either.  The full educational ministry of Sunday mornings is year round at Grace Lutheran Church.  This is not a minor thing.  First of all it is more difficult to obtain regular teachers through the summer than it is the fall, winter, and spring.  Second, the attendance varies and on certain holiday weekends it can be downright embarrassing.  Finally, there are those who complain that it is too much to expect people to be in church and Sunday school during the vacation period of June through August and so we face an attitudinal hurdle as well.  But we trudge on.  The cause is too great to flag in the face of challenge and the call of the Word rises above the sound of complaint and the naysayers.

I write this as a plea to those who do take a hiatus from the Word of God by ending Sunday school sometime around Memorial Day and beginning it again sometime around Labor Day.  It is a thoroughly reasonable and understandable thing to do but we ought to do better.  We ought to do more than cover the school year.  We ought to make sure that the full measure of opportunity to study the Word is provided for our people all year long.  This is not only good for those who attend but a reminder to those who do not and a witness to those who are not yet Christian.  Being together in the Word counts as an important priority - one that goes hand in hand with weekly worship.

When I first came to this parish and faced the problems of finding teachers and maintaining the full complement of adult studies year round, I was tempted to throw in the towel and do what the public schools do and take a break.  A few faithful folks talked me back into putting the energy of staff and parish into maintaining this schedule and calling God's people of all ages to be together in the Word.  I am glad they held me steadfast and glad I listened.

It is now the end of July, our own public schools begin the term anew in a few weeks.  Things are gearing up all around us.  Stores have school supply sales, the state is offering a sales tax free weekend on everything from clothing to computers to school supplies (tied to the beginning of the school term), and parents are beginning to delight in that most wonderful time of the year (remember that Staples commercial?).  As we gear up again, let us as Lutherans begin to plan not to wind down but to continue the educational endeavor all through next summer.  Now is the warning shot and now is the time to plan, promote, and pursue the Word of God all year round.  If you are among those in the pew, agitate for this with your pastor and parish leaders.  If you are clergy, then rally your people to the cause.  The study of the Word of God is far too important to be absent for a season from the daily life of God's people.

Plan today for adult Bible study and Sunday school all year long, without summer break, to fortify the Word in people and people in the Word and in witness to those around us.  The Divine Service every Sunday and adult Bible study and Sunday school every Sunday go hand in hand.  Oh, and one more thing, among the various topics for Bible study, take at least a portion of every year to cover a catechetical topic -- one of the six chief parts.  Bring catechism and Scripture and the hymnal (with the actual rite) together for one of the Bible study topics.  In fact, why not start the summer of 2017 with this!

1 comment:

Mabel said...

As a child, our church had Sunday school all summer but we kids didn't mind as it was a chance to see friends from other neighborhoods during the summer. Our folks liked it as that hour of free babysitting allowed them to do the grocery shopping, sans whiny children.