Q: What are the ordinary, external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption?
A: The ordinary, external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption are His regulations, particularly the word, sacraments, and prayer, all of which are made effective for the salvation of His chosen ones.
The next set of catechism questions will deal with the tools of worship, Scripture reading, prayer, the formal sacraments, and so on. At the same time, we’ll be shifting in the Children’s Church at NewCity to a new curriculum we’re sharing with McLean Presbyterian Church: Teach Me to Worship
One of the central purposes of the Children’s Church is to provide scaffolding and training into participating fully as a member of a local body of believers. We expect our young participants to eventually age themselves out and join the regular Sunday service. I think the Teach Me to Worship curriculum fits very well into that mission. As you can see on its web site, it breaks down the traditional elements of a sacramental time of worship and explain their significance.
Prior to this new curriculum we’ve been supplementing our catechism instruction with surveys of the gospel narrative over the whole of the Bible, first through the Jesus Storybook Bible, and then through Kevin DeYoung’s Biggest Story book.
Again, we practice these rituals, habits, and sacraments of our faith in faith, prayerfully hoping that in the mercy of God they will bring the benefits of redemption to our little ones. They, in and of themselves, do not constitute true worship or obedience, like King Saul’s sacrifices, but we institute them in our lives–even in the eclipse of our belief and understanding–so that they guide our identity and rut our evolving worldview. We may find ourselves lost in sermons or mouthing the songs or nodding off in prayers, but we know that God somehow manages to fill these jars of clay.