Every morning I sit on the floor in the kids’ room and get them dressed one after the other. Then Jacob sits on my lap and we pray, always ending with the Lord’s Prayer. Then he gets this twinkle in his eyes and his hands start to jitter as I reach for Meredith. He takes her hands and I hold her under her shoulders and they dance while I sing the Doxology.
There is nothing sophisticated happening but it’s so plain to me as I watch their babyish delight in it and in each other that it is baby worship: babies doing what they were made to do.
Mike & I believe it’s our job as parents to set a tone in our home that models the unity and love demanded of all Christ’s people in fellowship with each other. We believe being brothers and sisters through the cross of Christ is a tighter bond with a deeper obligation than blood relationships, so ultimately we want to see our children loyal to the church even beyond their loyalty to their family name.
This was a topic that my husband and I discussed at length some time ago. What’s so special about siblings? What reason do we give them for our demand that they live with each other in love and not selfishness? We came to the conclusion that it’s nothing more than the simple fact that they are growing up to be brothers and sisters in Christ and our home is the context in which they will learn it. If they were, say, in college renting an apartment with a random collection of friends, we would expect them to live the same way toward each other.
Home life, our most basic organization of community, where we’re involuntarily thrust together and constantly forced to deal with our hearts through a million little scrapes and bumps each day, is just the obvious place where we learn what it means to live Christ’s love to each other. It’s is a pressure cooker, and that’s what we want to be the cause of our kids growing up to be closely bound to each other: not so much a family identity, just that they are the particular Christians God happened to assign them to live closest with.
(The added bonus is that we want them to learn to love the church where they are and the neighbors where they live, not look around endlessly like a shopper for a place where they think they’ll meet the most agreeable people and fit in the best. You don’t pick your siblings and really, you don’t pick our Christian family either: God calls all sorts of people and they won’t always be your favorites.)
It’s our responsibility to make our home function like a little church. We are raising little Christians and that is why we will insist that they strive for unbroken fellowship with each other, since Jesus taught that this would be the identifying mark of His followers. It goes without saying that it has to begin with worship together, orienting ourselves rightly toward God so we can turn to each other, and for now in our house it looks like our silly little Doxology Dance.