I want to share Bishop Daniel’s thoughts on this with y’all.

Dear Friends in Christ,

“Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

 

On Sunday morning September 27, I led worship at St. Paul, Jenera. For the children’s message, I simply read the story “Words or Actions?” based on Matthew 21:23-32 in the Whirl Story Bible. After the story I mentioned to the congregation that one of my earliest memories as a child is of my grandmother reading Bible stories to me from a children’s Bible. I then encouraged the grandparents and parents present to take the time to read Bible stories to their children and grandchildren.

The response to that simple encouragement caught me off guard. There were many comments after worship and two e-mails. “Bishop, I do that every time my grandkids visit!” “That’s a great idea. We’ll start today!” “What was the name of that Bible you used? And where can we get one?” A long e-mail arrived on Monday from a woman sharing her memories of sitting with her grandma who read her Bible story after Bible story.

This simple encouragement (which I’ve shared in many parishes) was heard in a new way on Sunday morning and I’m trying to sort out why? Surely the COVID-19 pandemic plays a part. And a longing for a simpler time, perhaps. Or maybe God is reminding us once again, of the importance of faith formation in our homes.

The Rev. Dr. David Anderson is a Lutheran pastor who serves as the co-director of Milestones Ministry. This is a ministry committed to faith formation in the church and in the home. “A healthy church is a church that practices faith at home!” I am intrigued by Pastor Anderson’s five principles of faith formation.

1.      Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal, trusted relationships – often in our own homes.

2.      The church is a living partnership between the ministry of the congregation and ministry of the home.

3.       Where Christ is present in faith, the home is church, too!

4.      Faith is caught more than it is taught.

5.      If we want Christian children and youth, we need Christian adults who practice the faith with them.

As you reflect on the words from Deuteronomy 6 above, what are some of the ways we have encouraged our children to keep God’s Word in their hearts and on their minds?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Tim