“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.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Dear Redeemer Family:
It was a very good Synod Assembly in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago. A big reason was a special presenter whom the bishop asked to come to the Assembly, the Rev. Dr. Rich Melheim. He reinforced a number of things that I have said and thought for years. That was refreshing. He was five years ahead of me at the seminary, and has noticed a number of things that we have all noticed.
The first, and most important, is very obvious: Faith is largely formed at home. Faith largely is distilled from the wisdom of the elder members of the family to the younger members. This is one of the reasons why Martin Luther, when asked what is the most important vocation, said, “Parents, because parents are raising new Christians.” That lesson has been kind of forgotten in recent decades. Rich gave us a simple tool to help with that. It is a simple method of doing home devotions (something else that many Christian families have allowed to slip in recent decades). Since everyone is now suffering with very tight schedules and very little free time, he and his group, Faith Inkubators, came up with this simple model. Ruth and I have been using it since the Assembly. It works quite well. You do this at the supper table, together as a family. You can even do it while you are eating supper. Ruth and I do it after the table has been cleared. It has five parts, and takes about five minutes or so. Rich calls it FAITH5. It is to be done every night of the week.
Part One: Sharing. Everyone shares the highs and lows of their day. What was the highpoint of the day? What was the low point? This is better than, “How was work?” or “What did you learn in school?”
Part Two: Read. You read the Bible text. Rich recommends the text that the sermon was on the past Sunday. Or you may choose one of the other lessons from Sunday. That makes it easy. Also, using the same text for a week will help everyone come to a deeper understanding of those few verses.
Part Three: Talk. Everyone talks at supper. But here, the family talks about how the Bible text may relate to everyone’s highs and lows. It becomes a contextual Bible Study.
Part Four: Pray. What devotions are complete without prayer? But, here everyone prays for each other’s highs and lows.
Part Five: Bless. Everyone now blesses everyone else by making the sign of the cross on each other’s foreheads. You may say, “Jesus loves you, and so do I” or “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” or whatever blessing you prefer.
That’s it. It’s simple. I would encourage everyone in the congregation to do this, every evening. You will be hearing more items in the near future. But, this is something we should all be doing.
In Christ’s name!