Unlike my typical blog posts for pastors, educators, and other faith formation leaders (which will continue), I am now starting a short-term series of short posts directed at people at home.
A blessed Lent to you. We are certainly living in challenging times. I don’t know about you, but I have received emails and notices from it seems like every group or company that has my email address about how they are handling this pandemic that has taken over our lives. My Facebook feed and news app are mostly filled with COVID-19. Many congregations have temporarily closed to typical events, including weekly worship, in response to the advice of public health officials.
This is the context in which I am starting a weekly blog series directed at a lay audience, as well as sharing our weekly devotional bulletin insert. However, I have been inundated and overwhelmed by all this coverage. So, my focus will not be so much on the interesting times we are living through, but on how move from going to church to being the church at home.
Who Am I?
As you may or may not be aware, I am the owner and publisher at Spirit & Truth Publishing. Starting in 2013, we have been producing faith formation resources (like Sunday school curricula) for congregations, with most of our products following the Narrative Lectionary. If your pastor or other church leader has directed you here, it is likely that your congregation has been using the Narrative Lectionary in worship and/or education. I am not a pastor, though I do have a master’s degree from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) and the experience of being a father of two.
Sharing God’s Story @ Home
One of the products we create is a half-page bulletin insert that is designed to help households of any size, shape, or age range create devotions at home throughout the week. At least through the end of Lent—and likely beyond—you will be able to download this weekly resource for free from our website. I will be posting them weekly with a short blog post (most likely a reflection, but it will evolve as it goes).
Being the Church at Home
So, an important question: if your church building is closed and normal worship is canceled, does this mean that church is canceled? The short answer is “no.” As you may have heard multiple times, “church” is not a building, it’s not a set of events, and it’s not a group of people congregating together. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are important. But the Church is formed by the Holy Spirit from individual people to be the Body of Christ in our world. Church isn’t something we do, it’s something we are. Given that, doing is still important. Doing what?
Connect with God
First, staying connected with God. Many people call “connecting with God at home” devotions. Devotions can look different from person to person. Most of the time, people include prayer, Bible reading, and conversation (if you are doing devotions with others, like family members). Our Sharing God’s Story @ Home devotional insert gives you help for this so you don’t have to try to come up with everything by yourself. But, these are only suggestions, a resource for you to adapt however works for you.
Connect with Others
Second, connecting with people, serving and loving them. This is for people we know and people we don’t. Your daily (or hourly) challenge is to look around you (physically or mentally) and see how you can love and serve someone. This looks totally different from person to person and day to day. However, having a conversation with others, in your household or outside of it, is a great place to start. Our insert includes ideas for “Caring Conversations” to help with this, as well as a challenge on how to serve others in different ways.
I hope this will be helpful for you in the days ahead.
Peace be with you.
Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
Daily Bible Readings online (Here you can subscribe to our daily Bible readings calendar so that you can see them on your electronic calendar.)