The centrality of the Divine Service and daily prayer
It would be a strange thing indeed, if the Academy taught all about faith and Christian life, but never actually engaged in it. It would be as if we taught everything we knew about numbers, their goodness and their truthfulness, but never taught a student how to count, add, subtract, multiply or divide. So also, it would be strange, at best, and evil at worst, to catechize about the faith, that which is life, and never let our children receive it, believe it, and live it. To do so would undermine the credibility of the very teaching that the Gospel is life. As there is no life outside of Christ, received in Word and sacrament, so also the Divine Liturgy must be central to the life of the school. The liturgy nurtures the Christian’s faith for a lifetime.
The Gospel is Life
We are convinced that the Gospel is life by the words of Christ, “Take, eat, this is my body given for you … Drink of it, all of you, this is my blood.” These words are not just a focal point around which the liturgy circles, but they are the Divine Service. In receiving the Word and sacrament, we are receiving forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. In receiving the sacrament, we are saying “Yes and amen” to God’s Word about us: that we are sinners, that we need a Savior, that Christ provides satisfaction for sin, that He gives His life to us, to be touched, and tasted, and handled, that He is our great and gracious God who through the Holy Spirit, works faith. He is with us.
Heirs of the Gospel
We are heirs of a rich tradition in the liturgy, since we are heirs of the Gospel. The liturgy must be taught to every generation, because in every generation there will be new sinners added into the Church, and there will be old sinners, like us, who continually need the medicine of the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. The Father turns His face to us in worship, because He has given Christ to us. We can turn to the face of the Father in worship, because He has declared us righteous in Christ.
Prayer is Faith
We teach the students of the Academy to pray, whether the words of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, or the Lord’s Prayer, because we live in the real world. We offer them real faith and real hope, in order to live in a world which contains real sorrows and will test and afflict them, as it did to Christ. Prayer is faith, a moment of believing that God is both gracious and good. It is a moment we do not depend upon ourselves, but trust in His Word. It is a moment we forsake all our idols and worship the true God. That is the desired end of all our efforts at Peace Lutheran Academy, that students learn to believe and worship Jesus Christ.
Life in Christ
Love, real love that sacrifices one’s own life for another, is hard, but it is impossible, without faith. To live in genuine compassion and mercy as one who forgives, to reflect God’s Son in the midst of a dark realm, as the incarnation of Jesus to our neighbor, is a struggle against our own weaknesses and the power of this world. We cannot live this life by ourselves, from within ourselves; Jesus gives it to us. Christ lives in us.
In the gospel of Matthew, there were children who came to Jesus, that He might put his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the children, but Jesus commanded the disciples, saying, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And then he laid His hands on them. In the midst of this world, the Father invites us to pray to Him, to trust Him, and to love Him, unconditionally, as He loves us. Jesus invites us to believe that He is near to put his hands on us. He is our Immanuel.