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Kindness Korner

Saturday Morning Catechism

Saturday Morning Catechism

One of the traditions in my young years was Catechism Class. It was always scheduled for Saturday morning, at the church. Every kid was expected to be there, with his lesson learned. That meant being able to answer the questions the Pastor asked. There was always a catechism book, usually a thin paper back booklet, about a quarter of an inch thick.

It was The Heidelberg Catechism. It included fifty-two lessons, one for each week of the year. Every lesson included a basic doctrinal issue, then some Bible texts, which supported it. The test came when the teacher, always the Pastor, would ask the student the basic question for that week, which had a standard answer. We were supposed to have it memorized, and be prepared to recite.

I remember Catechism class with fondness All the kids came to church and hung around before and afterwards, and we lived right next door because my Dad was the Pastor. So there was a lot of socializing and fooling around with each other, both before and after (during too).

I wonder what happened to the bell. It was a brass bell about the size of a quart jar, with a long polished wooden handle. Dad would come out on the porch of the church and vigorously ring the bell to round up the kids, and get us into the classroom. It was a pleasant sound, and I would like to hear it again.

Not only did we have to learn and memorize the Catechism, it was part of the Church Order that one of the two sermons every Sunday was to be based on one of the fifty-two lessons of The Heidelberg Catechism. In fact, each of the weekly lessons was entitled Lord's Day # 21 or # 12, or whatever, up to #52.

The only one, of all of the year's lessons, that sticks with me is the first one—"What is your only comfort in life and in death?" The answer is "My only comfort in life and in death is that I belong, body and soul, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ." There is more to it, but that's the most important.

I'm not sure what the status of The Catechism is today. I don't think there is a church anywhere that gathers the kids on Saturday morning, and the Pastor calls them in with a hand-held bell. I think they are missing something. And I remember that first Q. and A. very well.

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted you to know that weekly catechism is still alive and thriving in the churches to which I belong. Ever since we started in 1923, the Protestant Reformed Churches have had a strong emphasis on the three forms of unity and Catechismal instruction. So in regards to your comment, yes, there are still churches in which the Catechism is an integral part of the preaching and teaching. And the Heidelberg Catechism is an important learning tool for the doctrines of the true church.