You don’t have to give up worship for Lent

After announcing there would be no public worship services due to the Corona Virus, Michael jokingly responded with, “I never thought I’d give up worship for Lent!” Well, the good news is you don’t have to. God intended your home to be a place of worship, a sanctuary where God’s Word is heard and made known. There in the confines of your own home, you can worship.

This is where you take your dusty Bible off its shelf and read Genesis 17:9-14; 22-27. When a child was 8 days old, the family would gather, most likely invite relatives and neighbors, have the priest come over and circumcise their newborn child. Now imagine this scene if you will: everyone is gathered around the little baby boy, the father or priest of the home would take the knife, the child was exposed… I am sure any young children in the house observing the knife now headed toward the baby would naturally ask, “What are they doing to little Johnny!!” That question would give any elder in the room the chance to respond in the teachable moment with, “God chose us to be God’s people. God has promised to bless us. We are remembering we thankfully belong to God.” Even if a child weren’t on hand to inquire, the ritual of circumcision was done to celebrate the reality that we belong to God, not out of what we have done, but because in an act of love God chose us to be God’s very own. With God’s choice came the obligation of God to fulfill all that God promised our lives. The outward act of circumcision was a reminder to all in the household that in our hearts, we have reason to rejoice; we have reason to cherish; we go through life belonging to the God who has freely chosen in love to bless and make us God’s own!

Early on, the circumcision was done in the home because there was not at that time a synagogue, temple, or church sanctuary. Synagogues didn’t come until many, many centuries later. So early on, God started in the home. The home was the fist place where God’s Word could be heard, where God’s story could be told, where God’s promises could be announced, remembered, and cherished in the heart. Parents could explain to children why this sign of circumcision was done. It was the sign that God chose us to be God’s own. It was so important to remember, that it was done on the 8th day. There was no delay in announcing to the family and neighborhood. The family would recall in the birth of a new life, they were God’s people and that made all the difference in the world as they journeyed through their day to day life. Even later in Biblical history, the Passover was instituted by God and people celebrated it in their homes. During Passover, in a family meal, the household remembered God is releasing us from bondage, setting us free, saving our lives, and making us God’s own people; so in this meal, lets get our household ready for what new thing God is about to do. Home was God’s first church.

Knowing God was announced, taught, and remembered in the home, is it any wonder homes today face so many trials and tribulations. The dark forces of this world don’t want to see families of faith to be born. The home, the family is where not only where new life can begin, but where faith can be born. I hope parents get a vision of this. They can be priests to their children so to speak. Couples can let the Word of God fill their home and single people can have God speak through God’s Word so often that home is never a lonely place. Even for the single person, there can be at least two people dwelling in the house- them and God.

I pray for the day when families across America will take their Bibles from off the shelf and there in their own home, let worship begin in the family! I hope homes everywhere can rediscover the joy and privilege of allowing God’s Word to be heard, learned, and shared in the home. I pray for more families of faith to be born as God is allowed to fill the home with his promises! On Sundays when we do come to church and gather as the larger family of faith, the corporate worship service should be a climax of all the celebration, prayers, and devotions that have been occurring daily as the family has let the Word of God shape their homes in the midst of an often chaotic world.

May God bless you and keep you and your family, Brian