Friday, November 04, 2005

Family as Church – Ecclesiology in Crisis – Part 3

In this blog, we have discussed a million and one ways to maintain the presence of God. How do we keep the line open so we can maintain our conscious contact with God throughout the day? We are people who as individuals carry the presence of God. This daily reality is life. As Jesus said, this is life – to know God. This is our story.

This story of being the people of God’s presence, the people who walk through the desert with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day, is to be our story as a family and our story as the church.

In this series, I am attempting to give illustrations and stories that help us all form a new definition of what is church. In the first post, I attempted to simply show that if we expand our definition of church to something other than the institutional “church”, we can learn to do church wherever we are. Doing church is the responsibility of each of us. We can do church in the home; We can do church in small gatherings of 2 or 3. We can do church and fulfill our mission with a few like-minded friends. This approach gets us out of the “least common denominator” syndrome of the larger congregation setting. For example, I love serving the poor. So be the church and serve the poor with a few friends. No excuses.

In our second post, I discussed that the real mission of the church is socialization. We are to be a new society that socializes people into a kingdom lifestyle based on kingdom principles, the greatest of these being love. We are the church in our homes, in our small groups, in our ministry outings, in our ministries. In all this we are teaching people how to be the people of the presence of God and how to love.

Today, I want to give a simple example of “How to Church?”

How to Church – 2x a day
Do you have a family? If not, you need to find a likeminded Christian roommate. Do you as a family have sit down meals?

When I first became a member of the CRC, I was having a meal with my mentor and we were talking about family meals. He said in his family of origin, they had three meals together as a family. He went to school near his home and he would come home for lunch. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, his father would lead the family in singing and bible study and discussion.

Another pastor friend of mine, who was actually my mentor before the man above who walked home for lunch, he spoke of his children actually bringing their violins to dinner and leading the family in hymn singing. WOW..That is taking the family as church thing seriously.

In both of these families, prayer is both before and after meals to create structure to the meal time.

Well, I have six kids ranging from 2 to 11 and we do family as church whenever I am home for a meal. So usually, at least this week, we have done breakfast together and I think one or two dinners. So here is the vital question:

How do you do meals together as a family?

Again, it is vital to have a method or in this case a liturgy of sorts for how you do church. For us we take about 15 minutes for the whole affair. We
1. Pray
2. Ask “who did a loving thing today?” (during dinner time)
3. Read the bible
4. Discuss the passages meaning.
5. Sing a song
6. Close in prayer
7. Help mom with the dishes.

Our family vision is that there is a “pillar of fire” at the table. We also teach the kids that they need to “bring something to the table”. Everyone comes with a word or a spiritual song or some spiritual gift for our little church. All of this is our little way to live the life.

Lord, let Your glory fall in this room, let it go forth from here to the nations…
God Bless,

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