Today, as a congregation, we recited the answer to the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”
“That I belong–body and soul, in life and in death–not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
Original Title Page of Catechism as printed by John Mayer in 1563. Title reads ‘Catechism or Christian Instruction as this is carried on in the Churches and Schools of the Electoral Palatinate’ka
I like the Christian Reformed Church’s brief description of the Heidelberg Catechism here:
The Heidelberg Catechism, written in 1563, originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity in the Palatinate, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well. It is a remarkably warm-hearted and personalized confession of faith, eminently deserving of its popularity among Reformed churches to the present day.
I prayed that answer as the Prayer for Comfort at my mother’s funeral.