Family Together Is Better
When we started the Antioch Movement, what is now becoming the Acts 13 Network, we made a decision about families. We decided that we wanted families to be together in all that we did. Our hope was that families would not be separated during their times of worship.
We believe that for children to grow and see what it means to be God worshipers, they need to be with their parents. Not only that, we think that they need to see other adults worshiping God too. Also, they need to be witnesses to the worship of their peers.
All of that occurs when we are intentionally inclusive of children in the gathering of the Missional Community.
Is it messy? Yes. Is it louder? Yes. Do they ask harder questions (you know, the ones that everyone is thinking)? Yes. Is it a bit more chaotic? Yes. Is it beautiful? YES.
Each week as I stand at the Lord’s Table to serve our community, I am often caught up in the beauty of seeing all of the generations huddled together receiving their bread and cup. Parents modeling the worship of their God for their children and older children modeling worship for the younger.
It is rich and beautiful and marvelous and miraculous to me each week.
This idea of being with whole families is nothing new. It is the way that God set things up. There are expectations that the people would worship as families. That they would care for one another and be with one another.
Consider this song that the people would sing on their way to the Temple,
Look at how good and pleasing it is when families live together as one! It is like expensive oil poured over the head, running down onto the beard— Aaron’s beard!— which extended over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew on Mount Hermon streaming down onto the mountains of Zion, because it is there that the Lord has commanded the blessing: everlasting life.
The word, “families,” is an inclusive word that brings the idea of “kinship.” It is not simply the American idea of the “nuclear family.” It is bigger, broader, and extended family concept.
When families are living together, worshiping together, in unity it is a picture of life everlasting. You see, often, nearly always, the idea of heaven is a right here, right now experience. When we live the Jesus way, when we #LoveWell, we are experiencing heaven now.
I have many friends who have broken familial relationships. When they have to enter into family things it is an experience of hell on Earth. There is pain, weeping, gnashing of teeth, and heartbreak.
When our family relationships are good and healthy, we experience joy, happiness, and life. Heaven on Earth.
This all starts with a foundation in worship.
Let us pray that the Church would return to a unity of the family. Let us pray that we would put behind us the separation of the family each week and work hard to bring them together.