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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Today’s Reading | Deuteronomy 6:16−25
Do not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. You must diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his decrees, and his statutes that he has commanded you. Do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may go in and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you, thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.
When your children ask you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the decrees and the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your children, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. The Lord displayed before our eyes great and awesome signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his household. He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land that he promised on oath to our ancestors. Then the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our lasting good, so as to keep us alive, as is now the case. If we diligently observe this entire commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, we will be in the right.” (NRSV)
Several years ago, when my wife and I were waiting to bring our firstborn son home from the hospital, I found myself holding him in my arms and anxiously pacing the floor, ready to get him home as soon as possible. During that precious time together, without really thinking about it, I began to tell him stories. I started off telling him about Kal-El of Krypton (better known to most people as Superman), then moved on to Moses (whose story influenced the creators of Superman), and then told him about his biblical namesake, Noah. It was an early indication, I think, of the relationship I hope to have with my sons as I bring them up in the faith and culture that mean so much to me.
I think that this is what the writer of this passage from Deuteronomy meant. As our children grow older, they naturally become curious about the beliefs, practices, and traditions of their parents and community. It is our sacred responsibility as a church to pass on these traditions to our children and youth.
In our Presbyterian tradition, this responsibility is not limited to parents and relatives. At every baptism we celebrate, the entire congregation promises to raise the children of our church in our faith. These are promises that we each make and must be intentional about fulfilling. How is God calling you to support and nurture the children and youth of our congregation?
Dear God, thank you for the young people among us who will carry on the faith we hold so dear. Help me to find ways to support them in our common lives together. Amen.
Written by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry
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