As part of catechism class at St. Matthew, students complete worship notes. On their worship notes, students can ask a question about the worship service, the Bible readings, etc. What follows are some of the questions that students have recently asked along with some basic answers. Thank you, catechism students, for helping all of us to learn through asking good questions about our faith!

What do the colors of the Advent candles mean? The lighting of Advent candles helps us anticipate the coming of Christmas. Blue is a color that is traditionally associated with the Advent season. Sometimes a pink or purple candle is lit in the third week of Advent as that week is associated with Joy. The white candle is symbolic of Christ and is lit in the Christmas season, beginning on Christmas Eve. The candles for the four weeks of Advent are associated with Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love – Christ’s blessings to His people.

What does “repentance” mean? Repentance refers to a change of heart, mind, and life. When we repent, we return to our Lord and we turn away from sinful ways. God the Holy Spirit enables us to live lives of repentance and faith in Christ.

Why did God create Eve from Adam’s rib? God seems to have created Eve in this way to highlight that she was the perfect match for Adam – so perfect, that she was literally made of the same flesh as Adam. Both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, yet were also created by Him in unique and special ways.

If the devil was defeated, why are we still tempted? God has banished the devil from heaven for his rebellion. Christ has especially defeated the devil through His perfect life, death, and resurrection. However, the devil’s final defeat will take place when Christ returns on the Last Day. Until that day, the devil, the sinful world, and our own sinful minds continue to be sources of temptation.

What does “ordained” mean? This can refer to things that God has set in place or arranged. Ordained can also refer to pastors. A pastor’s ordination is a service at the beginning of his ministry when he is publicly commissioned and installed into the ministry.

What does the Bible mean when it talks about tribulation? Tribulation is another word for trouble. In the Bible, tribulation can refer to suffering that Christians will face and troubles the world will undergo before the Last Day when Christ returns. God’s Word also gives us hope as we face tribulation. Jesus promises, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b) The believers in heaven are also described as those “coming out of the great tribulation” (Rev. 7:14b). 

Why don’t we know when Jesus will return? Jesus promises that He is “coming soon” (Revelation 22:20), according to His perfect timing. God’s Word does not tell us the exact time of His return so that we will live every day in faith and expectation of His coming. Jesus wants us to be prepared because He could return today or at any time!

What is the Law and the Gospel? These are the two great messages of the Bible. God’s Law shows us our sin, our need for Christ, and God’s will for our lives. His Gospel shows us our Savior, God’s grace, and the Good News of everything Christ has done for our forgiveness.

What does “Invocation” mean? To “invoke” is to call upon. When the Invocation is spoken in church (“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”), it marks the beginning of a worship service as we call upon God using the name He has placed on us in Holy Baptism. The Invocation is also a great moment to remember that you are God’s baptized child!

            Keep the questions coming!

Peace in Christ,

                        Pastor Kory Janneke