Joshua 24:15: “… but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Household, home. Those word have taken on a whole new significance in the past 10 months, haven’t they?
When the need to “stay home” first arose in spring 2020, I was not at all upset. Thinking it would surely be a temporary situation, I looked forward to more family time and less busyness.
As time wore on, however, we ran out of board games to play, got tired of trying new recipes, and began to feel our patience with each other wearing thin. I started noticing the dust bunnies in the corners, the stains on the carpet, and the spots on the walls that need touch-up paint. My kids went back to spending hours in their rooms and the family fun aspect of our “down time” quickly dissipated. Home became a place of safety and love as well as a place of confinement and annoyance; a bizarre dichotomy indeed.
As the circumstance continued and limits changed, we faced many family choices. Eat out or stay in? Shop inside or order curbside pickup? Online school or in-person options? One of the choices we faced, which was certainly not the least of them, but was also not at the forefront was how to continue growing in faith while confined to our homes, unable to physically attend church.
As we are often want to do, this familiar bit of scripture is taken out of its context. When this is said by Joshua, he is nearing death and, as such, is imploring the people of Israel to continue following the Lord rather than other gods. Joshua sets the example by stating how his household will proceed and, in subsequent verses, the Israelites covenant to follow suit.
In children’s ministry, we know that the primary teachers of faith for any children are their parents. No matter how fabulous Sunday school or children’s programming is, faith formation begins and ends at home. As adults, we can read and study until we go cross-eyed, but without dialogue and community, the growth of our faith is stunted. If you are reading this, presumably you have answered “yes” when asked IF your household will serve the Lord.
However, as we walk through this journey of Lent, still in a pandemic which was new last Lent and has now become so very wearisome, I hope we can all re-evaluate not only IF our households will serve the Lord, but HOW we will do so in the coming year. Then, like Joshua, may we walk that walk as an example to others, shining the light of love and hope into our home, neighborhood, community, and world.
Gracious God, thank you for those who set extraordinary examples of faith. Though our households look different and each one experiences particular challenges and blessings, we know You are present within them all. Help us to choose You, Lord, again and again and again. Give us wisdom to guide those we love along a path of faithfulness and courage to accompany strangers we meet along the way. Strengthen and embolden our faith. Shore up the places where our faith is weak. We ask these things in the name of your Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.