Jack and Judy Balswick developed the concept of the church as a family of families in their writings. This is an apt description of many churches, especially smaller churches. But regardless of size, church is an extended family. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Lent and Christmas, this issue will explore the ways worship depends upon an understanding of community as the family of God. Not only that, worship also provides the means for deepening relationships within and among families. The restrictions churches face due to Covid-19 means that many pastors and worship leaders are trying to figure out how people can stay connected with their churches, usually via online or streaming services. This issue will provide a practical theological framework for “ties that bind” in the era of Covid-19 and some best practices for navigating restrictions in ways that build up the family of faith and individual families in socially distanced communities.
About the Theme of this Issue…
This issue focuses on connecting the family at home with the larger worshiping community. Kent Morris and David Lamas encourage us with the powerful and life-changing impact of the Heavenly Father’s (and our earthly fathers’ and mothers’) love. Rob Redman, Matt Brock and Kendall Vanderslice connect us and call us to a deeper understanding and experience of the family at worship and the art of setting a table of inclusion.
Elise Teller reminds us we can welcome Jesus by recognizing the kingdom of God in the voices and prayers of our children. In Back to Basics, Chuck Fromm shines light on the cosmic, universe-altering power of the incarnation that has made space at the table for all those who accept the loving invitation to join Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a member of the family…forever.
As we set our hearts on a season of worship, let us remember that worship begins with and is complete in Him. As we gather around tables in our homes and the communion tables in our churches—if and when we are able, let us remember the myriad ways God calls us and meets us in our homes, at our meals (and if we have no homes, he meets us wherever we are). Through the Bible we see reconciliation, mercy, celebration, unity, intimacy, God’s history enacted, miracles performed and His kingdom established all around a shared meal, conversation, worship, and prayer. To add to our joy, let’s anticipate (which is at the heart of Advent and Christmas) through John’s Revelation the wonderful reality that all these smaller encounters will culminate in the biggest family celebration ever. The Family at worship revealed. That’s what this issue is all about.