17 Jun 2020
For us, family life in lockdown has led to a passion for rescuing wood from skips and growing veggies. When your son runs in from a walk exclaiming excitedly, “Mum, we found a new skip and the man said we could have his pallets” and your daughter prays, “Lord, keep the slugs off the beans” you know things have taken an odd turn!
We have built an outdoor table, a planter for our new veggies, hunted bugs and dug holes, not all of which were necessary! All this is good fun and nothing to do with faith, right? Chats about God are for Sundays only, aren’t they? Nope! As we admire the world God made, we learn more about him. We get to talk about the wonder of resurrection as we bury the dead-looking seed in the ground and life bursts forth. We get to talk about how God made us to work and think and be creative like him as we design and build. We get to laugh at how we love to rescue something that seems like rubbish and make it into something wonderful, enjoying the fact that God loves to do the same with people. This is faith let loose in family life.
Life during lockdown has become blurry round the edges; days, weeks, even months seem to blend into each other. Every day could be described as the fryteenth of Mapilray. As days merge and we spend time together like never before, take the chance to make the connection from faith to life. Don’t leave faith fenced in, for Sundays only.
Perhaps there was a time when Sundays meant going to a building and being separated out into different boxes - Sunday school through there, adults in here to open the Bible and learn about God. What about now? Is faith more fenced in than ever? Do we send the kids off into another room while we do online church? Is faith now just for Sundays AND just for grown-ups?
“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
We live out our faith not only in words but also in actions. We share our lives. Particularly with our family. At the moment, we can’t escape sharing our lives! Faith can be part of everyday family life. It can make a difference. It can be seen as a family thanks God for the food they eat; in a bedtime story that reminds a toddler how big God is; in a conversation with a son upset by what he sees on the news; in a prayer with a daughter struggling with her school work; in the songs we sing along to when we are cooking; in the priorities a dad sets for his evening; in the way we plan our spending; in our shared amazement at the beauty of creation; in who we turn to for help when we’re having a meltdown. Faith can squeeze into every nook and cranny of family life because it shapes how we see ourselves and understand the world. Faith should to be unfenced, filtering into every aspect of every day. This is not new advice.
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your heats. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
At home, out walking, getting ready for bed – deliberate conversations about God can be a part of life. Our children will learn so much more from seeing a life transformed by faith than they ever will from a faith fenced in for Sundays only. They won’t see lives of sinless perfection, but forgiven sinners living out our new identity in Christ with thankfulness.
Let’s let lockdown be the opportunity to take the fences away and let faith loose throughout all of life, for each family member every day of the week.