Two weeks ago I had something special planned for vacation. To some it might not seem like much, but for Claire, Lily, and Isabel the highly anticipated "Sing the Faith" CD was enough to calm the waters during our lengthy driving tour through the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. The only commotion we heard from the backseat was the occasional remark, "this is my favorite one," or "start over from the beginning Dad." Even the parents enjoyed singing along as we geared up to go over the Mighty Mac.
We’ve been using portions of this CD in our congregation ever since Concordia Publishing House began releasing it part by part two years ago. After long last the entire project has been completed and is available on one CD. Phil Magness, Kantor at Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, Illinois composed the music for the Primary and Secondary (all the meanings) texts, and the good folks at CPH put it all together, complete with beautiful singing by children. Kudos to a job well done.
We pastors always want our people to use the catechism, and here is a resource where even those who aren’t so regular in their family devotions can make use of the catechism at home. Parents who might never sit down and teach their children the text of the catechism are slipping this disk into their player as they run errands around town in the family minivan. And the children are learning it! Grandparents are bragging that their preschool grandchildren are singing the catechism around the house. Last year our Sunday School of 15 or so children sang the entire text of Luther’s explanation to the second article of the creed in church from memory (at ages 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)! It’s been a boon to my teaching credibility as well. The adults are surprised to see the children learning (and enjoying it too). My boast to the Bible Class has been that we do more work in the catechism in our one hour of Sunday School than most Lutheran Schools do in a whole week. This CD is making my job easy.
This summer for the second year in a row we featured this resource during a weekly "Catechism Workshop." The families of our parish were invited to a half-hour program after church where a chief part of the catechism was learned throughout the summer months. This CD has been an integral part of preparing the congregation for a paradigm shift, what I call "raising the bar and lowering the communion age" (all at the same time). In the future it is hoped that any child who has memorized the entire text of the catechism by heart and is examined and absolved by the pastor will be admitted to the altar. Imagine, with the touch of a button your child can know all of the catechism BEFORE confirmation class with none of the drudgery of "MEMORY WORK."
Our congregation pre-ordered 60 copies of this CD! At the meager list price (subsidized by youth funds), parents were purchasing them not only for themselves, but also for their godchildren, and grandparents were buying multiple copies as presents for their grandchildren. Some even bought a copy just to brush up on what they learned as confirmands. One woman of the parish looked at the text in a new way after singing the words she learned before and thinking about them again.
The music is beautiful, appealing, and accessible to both young and old alike. Orders can be placed at the church office for just $10 apiece. You might not pass the Mackinaw Bridge as you listen to it, and there is no guarantee that there won’t be some squawking from the backseat, but you might just not be able to keep yourself from singing along too. If you don’t have it yet, you’re missing out.