April 10, 2023
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Last words are precious and shape us. Moses has some final words for the children of Israel at the end of the exodus. He will not go with them into the promised land but only see it from a distance. He encourages these forgetful people like us to hear and listen up! They have seen sand and sad circumstances, but he invites them to start their new life on solid ground. The Shema above is the centerpiece of daily morning and evening prayer for Jewish families. It bookends each day with holy realignment, which begins by looking upward. We are to hear, listen, heed, and remember that Yahweh, our covenantal and relational LORD is our God, and He is One. In a polytheistic world of gods who compete for our allegiances, He is singular, other, and holy. No one else is His equal. He is our King and should rule and reign in every area of life.
Moses notes the natural overflow of worshiping our LORD is the integration of faith and life. Intergenerational discipleship begins with the relentless dethroning of competing loyalties. God wants all of us—nothing held back—our heart, soul, and might. Our obedience is an overflow of our love for Him, not the Law. It is easy to get this upside down. Jesus quotes this greatest commandment to a young striving lawyer in Matthew 22:36-37.
Intergenerational discipleship is informational. Moses encourages them to teach the content of the covenant in the context of community. To teach means to impress, shape, or mark us with His truth that leaves us nothing less than transformed. Intergenerational discipleship is to be active and integrated. Every moment is a covenant classroom. Whether sitting around a kitchen table, worshiping in a sanctuary, or walking along a path, there is always something to be learned about God. Each day we are to live in a rhythm of remembrance—intergenerational discipleship is active not passive. We get up on a Monday to teach, talk, sit, walk, lie, rise, bind, and write. Passive discipleship is about neglecting or forgetting. Spiritual amnesia makes us prone to wander and believe lies. Active discipleship is about remembering.
Why don’t I share the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD to the next generation? We live in a hustle culture where we are reticent to add anything to our busy lives. This kind of discipleship is not about addition but rather integration. Intergenerational discipleship is relational and transformational. God sovereignly places us in the family of families; He is our God. We get to rehearse the story of His glory together. As His Word renews our minds, the Spirit radically transforms us. Do you and your covenant family look more like Jesus because you have done life together? We are prone to wander and forget, so we must saturate and surround ourselves with gospel truths, intentionally placing reminders on our doorposts, bathroom mirrors, and screen savers.
CE & P, now CDM, has strengthened churches in the PCA for fifty years by teaching and training through a covenantal framework for discipleship. This discipleship is Word-based, thinking biblically about all of life but also relationally driven as we live and lead others covenantally. Intergenerational discipleship is sacred holy work. We have the privilege of participating with the Spirit’s work in our lives as we walk each other, Home. This is eternal stewardship as we give our lives to invest in what lasts forever: His Word and His people.
Karen Hodge serves as the Coordinator for PCA Women’s Ministry, where she seeks to connect women and churches to one another and to sound resources. She is also having the time of her life serving alongside her husband, pastor and best friend Chris, at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. Chris and Karen have two adult children, Anna Grace Botka and Haddon Hodge. She is the host of the enCourage podcast and along with Susan Hunt, authored “Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver and Life-giving Leadership”.