Saturday, April 11, 2020

Our First Church

"Father and Mother are apostles, bishops, and priests to their children, for it is they who make them acquainted with the gospel." -Martin Luther
It's easy and fun to celebrate worship at home. To prepare, we bake communion bread according to the classic recipe from Luther Seminary, and use whatever wine -red or white - we have on hand. After dinner, we set out the sacraments, and add a few treasures: a candle because Jesus is the light of the world and a few pebbles because, you know, he rocks. 

You won't be shocked to hear that on this Good Friday evening, when we would traditionally head off to join in the special Holy Week service at our church, my family honored the day with a worship at home. 

Covid-19 strikes again.

But what may be a bit more surprising is that this is nothing new for us. Almost exactly one year ago, I stopped going to Sunday worship at church. The 9:30 a.m. start time was throwing my delicately calibrated delayed sleep phase schedule out of wack and taking a toll on my health. So while my husband still heads off to church, I've been staying home.

This is not a decision that makes me happy. 

I miss seeing my friends' smiling faces. 
I miss the songs we sing together.
I miss sharing that weekly slice of life with people I care about. 

I haven't found a workaround for those sacrifices, and that makes me sad.

But what I can do is gather my family around the table after Sunday dinner and worship at home. We read together the bible verses of the day, talk a bit about however we feel moved, and then celebrate communion together. 

Though it started out as a second-class substitute, this family worship time has become a meaningful practice in its own right.
We search Google for the day's bible verses  -  "ELCA lessons today" - and pass the phone around the table so everyone gets a turn to read. If my husband heard the message at church, he may share a few points from the preaching, but mostly we discuss our own responses to the texts. 

My guy, Martin Luther, held some strong opinions about the sacred dimensions of family life. 

An ex-monk who married an ex-nun, Luther and his wife gave birth to six children and adopted four more. Their home was a happy one, overflowing with music, beer, and love of life, and he held no place to be more full of God's glory that his own dining room table during the evening meal. 

Parents, Luther believed, carry the joy and responsibility of opening their sons' and daughters' hearts to the love of God. And while he allowed that this might happen in places that we call churches and Sunday School today, Martin Luther saw the family home as the First Church and the center of the beating heart of faith.
Finally, we share the Lord's Supper and pray the Lord's Prayer. While this procession isn't fancy or finely tuned, it is ours. And that seems the most important thing. 

So Good Friday will come and go, and eventually Covid-19 will loosen its grip on our activities and we'll be free to resume our normal lives again.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Diane, what a blessing you share with us. Right now,I am a household of one, however, not alone. I pray this us an encouragement to couples and families if all configurations to join together around worship and prayer centered in God's Word. Thank youm


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