Confirmation was a very important milestone in my life. There were 36 of us in the class. The first year, Mr. Heidenrich grilled us on Bible and had us typing our weekly homework. Prior to Mr. H., Mr. Bangert read us a Psalm every Sunday and grilled us on New Testament. But the second year of confirmation was taught by my dad.
The first day of confirmation, each of us drew a number out of a hat and sat in the designated assigned seat with that number. You see, we had to memorize the Evangelical Catechism, and believing competition would push us in our endeavors, we had numbered seating. If we missed a question we were to have memorized, we moved back a seat. We could only move up if the person in front of us missed an answer and we knew it.
I drew seat 16.
Our first lesson was on grace, then scripture, followed by creation, the fall, redemption, sanctification, sacraments, confession, prayer...well, you get the idea. When Dad taught about creation, he added procreation, the big term which we found out meant "sex ed." Talk about embarrassing!
When we learned about original sin and the Fall, we memorized the long version of the 10 commandments. Wanting to give us a memory clue, Dad told us the 10 commandments could be found at 2-20-2 or 5-5-5.
Today, we are at 5-5-5: fifth book (Deuteronomy), fifth chapter, fifth verse.
Chapters 5 and 6 in Deuteronomy are weighty chapters, chock full of wonderful stuff; probably the first two chapters memorized by young boys working toward their bar mitzvah. Not only is there the central moral code for living, but the great Shema.
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
This is the Jewish faith, the roots of the Christian faith in one central verse. Listen! (Shema!) YHWH is our God. It doesn't matter who other people worship, YHWH is our God. And the LORD (YHWH) is one. One God: one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all. Monotheism.
Also, the first great commandment is here: Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
I was fortunate beyond all blessing. I had a mother and dad who took chapters five and six of Deuteronomy seriously. They insisted we memorize, writing God's word on the tablets of our hearts. They taught us diligently; whether we were rising or going to bed, sitting, standing, walking, digging in a garden, working on homework, arguing with siblings, we were immersed in God's word.
Today, as I near my birthday, I am so grateful for these chapters of Deuteronomy and so thankful for my parents.
And so thankful to God for wanting to be my God and calling me His own.