If you’re managing to get away for a vacation this summer, you may find yourself far from any New Church congregation when Sunday comes around. You could choose to sleep in; you could tune in to one of our online services; or you could consider opening a copy of the Word wherever you find yourself and worshipping with your family (or doing some devotional reading on your own if you’re not with family or not with people who are open to worshipping together).
There was a time when many families in Bryn Athyn (and in the General Church more broadly) would have family worship many evenings of the week. Part of the motivation for this was Deuteronomy 6:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
In the midst of the busyness of life, many people (including me) struggle to find time to fit in family worship. The summertime, however, without the pressures and schedule of the school year, might offer a good opportunity to give family worship a try. It can feel like, if you can’t manage to do it every night, throughout the year, then you shouldn’t do it at all. But that’s nonsense. Anything is better than nothing. Even having family worship just a few times during the summer and not at all during the rest of the year, will have a positive impact.
Family worship doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be just saying the Lord’s Prayer together as a family. Here are some other things you could consider adding in, if the work and time feels worth it: lighting candles; opening the Word at the beginning and closing it at the end; saying a personal prayer before the Lord’s prayer; having each person say something that they’re grateful to the Lord for before the prayer; reading from the Word (consider having a child do the reading); singing; doing a project based on something from the Word. Or, if getting your family to do any of that together feels like more than you can take on this summer, consider just working on reading the Word and/or praying more often by yourself.
The summer is a chance to do things that don’t fit into our normal routine—get outside more, soak up some sun, get a change of scenery, spend more quality time with our families and friends. It can also be an opportunity to soak up some light and warmth from the spiritual sun and to spend some more quality time with our God.
Resources for Family Worship
- Find worship talks, projects, pictures, songs, whole curricula to follow at the recently redone newchurchvineyard.org
- A great series of short videos from Rev. John Odhner about Praying as a Family.
- Ray and Star Silverman’s new commentary on the Gospels is a great place to start your devotional reading and to give you something to read and discuss with your family. It’s currently only available on the New Christian Bible Study website. Here are the links to the first chapters of each gospel:
- Rev. Brad Heinrich’s book As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord: Parenting Principles from the Word – Passing Your Faith to Your Children
- I would also love to talk to you about family worship and what might work best for you and your family at whatever phase of life you’re currently at. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org