Did you know that the practice of family worship is an ages old practice familiar to the Hebrew people, the early church, and made famous among European reformers? The Reformers, particularly Luther and Calvin, developed a robust vision for Christian training in the household. They called on parents to disciple their children. The Puritans in New England cultivated this Reformation practice into family worship.
I imagine most Good News readers practice private and corporate worship, but fewer practice family worship. Am I right?
I get it. When a family has children and youth at home it’s a herculean feat just to get everyone to the table for a meal. But with a bit of forethought mealtime can include worship.
What would it take for your family to practice family worship this month? Perhaps you already have a favorite prayer you recite together. If not, feel free to borrow one or write your own. Maybe you sing at mealtime already. Hurray! You’re well on your way to family worship. But, what might be done to deepen your connection with God in the midst of your family life? I’m glad you asked.
Three practices of family worship:
Read. Open the Bible. A favorite for young children is “The Jesus Storybook Bible” and for older children “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” a rich resource for family devotions, story time, or bedtime. Read a favorite passage together. For example, Psalm 23 begins “The Lord is my shepherd”. Talk about the ways God is with our family as a shepherd. Go line by line. Take your time.
Pray. Lift up prayers for one another’s joys and fears. Share a ‘high’ and ‘low’ from your day. Ask God to help you see blessings and struggles as ways to grow in faith. Be honest. Keep a journal/list if you like.
Sing. Give voice to praise and worship. Even if you do not consider yourself musical, find a way that is agreeable to your family to include music in your worship together. Beginner musicians can lead. The internet is rich in resources. Need a hymnal? Borrow one from West Side. Contact the church office.
Thanksgiving is an ideal time for family worship. At my family table a bowl of popcorn kernels is passed around. Everyone draws out a few. Then each one, in turn, shares something they are thankful for, tossing a kernel of corn back into the bowl with each mention of thanks giving. Each year we look forward to this family worship practice; those far-flung join in via Skype or other apps. Additionally, at family reunions grandchildren lead family times of worship.
You’re invited to enrich this conversation by adding your voice via West Side Facebook and your ideas via Pinterest or share your thoughts and feedback via email to ShariM@wspc.org. Together, may we enrich the practice of family worship so that all might grow in faith in Jesus Christ!
Grace & Peace, Pastor Shari