Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sanctification of the Church
Learning and Nurturing Faith and Practice
(World Sunday School Day)
v1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
As we begin the Liturgical year once again by commemorating the first Sunday of November as Kudosh Eetho (Sanctification of the Church) along with World Sunday School Day, it is a good opportunity to contemplate on the role that the church plays in the development of faith in the life of children. The faith formation and development of a child is the collaborative work of parents, grandparents, or other relatives along with the church especially through Sunday School. Through the habits and spiritual disciplines learned in the family environment and church setting, children will be armed equipped with the best tools to face the innumerable challenges and struggles that they encounter in life. Without such a foundation, we will be “tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.”(Ephesians 4:14) This is one of the main struggles the church and families have. It is much easier to steer children away from recognizable evil that to guide them away from teachings that do not reflect the fullness of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is vital that from early childhood, that our children should understand all tenets of the faith and the purpose of our practices.
Despite the many challenges that we come across in the process of nurturing faith in the next generation of believers, Psalm 127:1 reminds us of an important reality. Unless God is the builder, everything we build is in vain and this includes our families and churches. We could have the most financial resources, newest technologies, the most trained teachers and leaders, but if we are not Christ-centered, all of it would be vanity and lacking substance. We often see it in the modern world; platitudes with no godliness. We are also reminded by the Psalmist that unless the Lord guards the city, the guards are keeping watch in vain. All too often the things we try to safeguard and preserve are useless exercises of false piety.
During this sanctification period, it is of prime importance to reflect on how effectively we have carried out the job of fostering faith in those who have been entrusted to us in our own homes as well as in the church. Let us not be like the whitewashed tombs that Jesus warns about in our personal lives and as a church community. Rather let us completely depend on God whom the scriptures portray as a potter and builder to build and mold us and our churches to be useful for His kingdom. We must also rely on God to be the guardian of our church, families, and children, against the attacks of the enemy. As individuals and as people who have been commended to pass on the faith to the next generation, let us be guided by the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, we work for the glory of God but it is God who brings about the results. As Paul so simply reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
Lord we humbly submit ourselves to the master to build our lives and church to work for your glory. We confess that we often try to build without you the guardians of our own lives. Forgive us for not submitting to your will and plan. Sanctify us O Lord, and our families, and church to fulfill your will on earth. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Family the birthplace of faith formation
Mr Vivin Varughese
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church