Lord willing and time permitting (which I guess is redundant), tonight at dinner begins my family’s year of working through the New City Catechism (introductory thoughts here…). Last year I never got around to it, but I’ve got another opportunity in the new year to grab hold of the structure and try to persevere. Originally, I was not sure whether I wanted to take my family through this newfangled catty-schism, but at this point I’m thinking that, even if it’s not better than SC, it is better than continuing to not keep up with SC (i.e. it’s better than nothing). Also, it’s easy; at least I think it’s an attainable goal to stick with it through 52 weeks and get er done.
This week’s question is plagiarized from HC1 (and that’s a good thing):
What is our only hope in life and death?
That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.
That colored portion there is the children’s answer. (As I mentioned before, I like this feature of getting two catechisms for the price of one, by embedding a children’s answer inside each full answer.)
So my thoughts on this Q/A are that it’s OK, it is not wrong, but comparing to the full HC1, it seems kind of meager. I will be extending our table talk with the fuller, richer content of HC1.
The additional resources provided by NCC (verse: Rom 14:7-8, commentary by Calvin, video by James Carville, prayer by puritan Thomas Brooks) are not aimed to make up for this deficit, but rather steer the focus away from what God has done for us in Christ, to what we therefore owe to God who owns us. For instance, Calvin:
We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us…. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him.
It’s like this question paraphrases the beginning of HC1, but then jumps right to the final “and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him” without bothering to mention all that gospel stuff in the middle. NCC1 would be vastly improved (and not unduly lengthened) by simply tacking on “…who died for me” or the like.
I think my plan will be to use the NCC website as-is for a couple days, and then towards the end of the week, bring in HC1. Kind of a Law-Gospel hermeneutic there.
I’ll drop back and comment on how it goes; I welcome anybody else’s thoughts on this question, feedback, comments about using NCC with your family, etc.