Friday, May 6, 2016

Confessional Priorities

I have been thinking about the old discussion about being vs doing, and am starting to see a connection with catechisms I've been taught over the years. I'm grateful for how these lessons have influenced both what I do and who I am.

First on what seems like the doing end: when I first joined a church at age 12, the United Presbyterian, back in *ahem* the early seventies, we were instructed for a year and memorized a series of questions and answers starting with: 
Q:  What is the most important thing in life?
A: The most important thing in life is to know God and to glorify Him forever.
I liked the neat and tidy answers to the big questions of life.

A few years later, I was involved as a charter member in starting a PCA congregation, and have since belonged to OPC and now RP. They all use the Westminster Catechisms and as I was being taught this in high school, I could see that what we had learned before was basically a modern version of the same thing, following the same ideas in the same sequence but worded differently. This one starts with:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. (Or, John Piper likes to change the last phrase to "by enjoying Him forever.")

And I still like this answer to the question of what man's purpose is, what we are here for. 

But. On to the being end:  we have bumped into the Heidelberg Catechism here and there; when we used to subscribe to the CRC's magazine, in reading books about Dutch art history, sometimes in biographies. And I have to say that where my mind likes the WSC's series of questions and answers, my heart soars with the Heidelberg's. Here is the first from this catechism, which speaks more personally to the heart:
Q: What is thy only comfort in life and death?
A: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. 

What are the thoughts that help you understand who you are here to be and what you are here to do?