“Repetition is the mother of learning”, so the saying goes – and there’s a lot of truth to this saying! Skills are learned by steady repetition and by trial and error over time. Important truths, such as Scripture verses and sections of Luther’s Small Catechism, can be learned by heart through repetition. Phone numbers, addresses, and other practical information becomes imbedded in your mind when you use it regularly. 

I have had the privilege of providing spiritual care for some of God’s people who have been severely affected by dementia. However, I’ve also noticed that people who may not be able to remember your name or what day it is or where they’re at can still somehow remember the Lord’s Prayer, the Benediction, and other words from the Lord. Why? Because, through repetition, they learned them by heart. 

There are certain Scriptures that we often hear repeated in Christian worship services. These verses are like sign posts, reminding us of important matters of our faith, things that are worth remembering all throughout our lives.

“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). These words come from Jesus Himself. This is His formula for how Christians are to be baptized, as God’s saving name is applied to you along with the water. We hear these words at the beginning of most worship services as an “Invocation” – calling upon our Triune God to bless us with His presence and forgiveness as we gather. Every time we hear these words, it also serves as a reminder of our Baptism into Christ.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9) This straightforward promise from God’s Word teaches us that God stands ready to forgive all those who turn to Him by confessing their sins and seeking His mercy and forgiveness. 

“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2). This New Testament greeting makes an appropriate beginning to a sermon. It’s also a reminder of God’s Gospel blessings – Grace, Mercy, and Peace are ours in Jesus!

“And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Yet another great promise from God’s Word, that His peace will watch over you in all your goings and comings, ups and downs. 

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).These Benedictions, or blessings, come from God’s Word through Moses and St. Paul. God told Aaron (Moses’s brother) and his fellow priests to bless His people in this way, putting His name upon them (Numbers 6:27). Notice that the worship service is bookended with God’s saving name. We gather for worship and then we return to our daily callings in the name and in the strength of our mighty Triune God. 

There are many truths in our Christian faith that are well worth repeating regularly – Gospel messages like John 3:16, for example. Each year, come Christmastime, we repeat the same story of our Savior’s coming into the world for us. That story hasn’t changed in 2,000 years, yet we keep telling it because it’s a timeless and world-changing message. 

Soon, we’ll be entering the season of Lent. While themes and emphases change from year to year, Lent continues to be a time focused on Jesus’ cross and the suffering He endured for us – just as the Easter season that follows continues to be a time filled with the joy of Jesus’ resurrection! 

God’s Word bears repeating. It’s how we learn and grow in our faith in Christ and pass that faith along to coming generations.

“I love to tell the story, ‘tis pleasant to repeat

What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.

I love to tell the story, for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story; ‘twill be my theme in glory

To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”

Peace in Christ,

                        Pastor Kory Janneke