Last month our family traveled to Arizona for vacation. We had never been out west so we took the opportunity to spend most of our time in Sedona with a day trip to the Grand Canyon and sandwiched by a couple of days in Phoenix. We spent most of our time hiking and climbing which was really fun. There are some great hiking trails in Sedona that are well marked and have varying degrees of length and difficulty. Our trip was Tuesday to Tuesday which meant we were in Sedona over a Sunday, and normally we would visit another church when we're out of town. However, this time we decided to do family church in our room. Kim quipped that it was one of the advantages of traveling with a Pastor! Anyway there were three parts to our little liturgy and it was really cool.
1. Discussion of the Bible - We read some scriptures and had a little discussion about how life is like a 'path.' There is a concentration of scriptures about 'paths' in Psalm 119 and because we had just been hiking so much these were very relevant. We talked about some of the critical components that made our hikes successful. Some of the stuff the kids came up with were things like; we had a map, we had a plan, there were some markers along the path, it was light out, we had each other and could talk about which way to go when we got off the path, we had taken the proper supplies with us, etc. We tied these things back into how to be successful as we walk the path of life. The importance of the Word of God as our map and lamp, the Holy Spirit as our guide, the importance of Christian community to help provide accountability and direction when we lose our way, etc. It was really cool. You should read Psalm 119 sometime and check out how much great advice there is about walking the path of life.
2. Prayer - I asked Kim to pray as we wrapped up and she offered an amazing prayer that summarized some of the things we had just talked about from the Scriptures. She also prayed individually over each of our kids and over me about specific things that we were each facing. There is something very powerful about a mother's prayer for her family. It brought me to tears.
3. Worship - We decided that during the 25 minute drive to the restaurant for breakfast that we would pass the ipod around the car and let each person choose a worship song during the drive. So we blasted With Everything and Your Name and Our God and sang at the top of our lungs driving with the windows down, a warm breeze blowing through the car, with beautiful red mountains on every side and blue skies overhead. It was a profound time of worship for all of us.
It was a very special and memorable time for our family. One that we won't soon forget. It also led me to a renewed commitment to having regular family devotional times together. All our kids are at ages where they can fully participate in an intelligent conversation about spiritual topics. I would never recommend missing church on a regular basis, but on occasion something like this can be really powerful for your family.
Have you ever had a memorable 'family church' experience?