Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity – Monday
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another. —Colossians 3:16
“as the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.” This directive of Dr. Luther stands at the beginning of each Chief Part of Christian doctrine in his Small Catechism and points out the duty of every father (Ephesians 6:4) or other head of the household to teach the members of his family every day and to lead them in family worship. The Lord Himself actually directs fathers to do this regularly throughout the day as they interact with their children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Sadly, this Christian duty and privilege, practiced by God’s people throughout the ages, has fallen into disuse in our busy, “modern” day.
Family worship belongs to “the good old customs” practiced by our Lutheran forefathers. During and after the time of the Reformation, it became an almost universal thing in Lutheran lands among Lutheran families. And although in our modern times many have abandoned also this “good old custom” because of the press of so many temporal things and the shortage of time with their families (which we ourselves often permit to be the rule rather than the exception), we Christians, whose desire should be to seek first of all the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), should seek it in practice and not merely in confession (Psalm 1:2; Deuteronomy 6:7). Retain your family devotion, or return to it if you have let it lapse; and do not omit it if a stranger happens to be a visitor in your house. What a wonderful testimony to your faith and that of your family! What a beam of light that they can see and for which they can glorify God (Matthew 5:16). Do not be ashamed of “the old way” (Jeremiah 6:16). For family instruction and worship is as beneficial now as it was in “olden times.”
The benefits of family worship are many and great. The man [and his family] are “blessed,” says the Psalmist, “[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord and in [whose] law [they] meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). We have the Savior’s assurance that “where two or three are gathered together in [His] name,” He will be with them (Matthew 18:20). His Word, which teaches us how God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32), has a hallowed influence upon the family’s peace, which so often is threatened by selfishness, discord and an unforgiving spirit. Loving Christian unity is practiced when members of the family “walk together” (Amos 3:3) according to His Word, united in doctrine, fellowship and prayer (Acts 2:42). Family discipline is made easier and the home atmosphere more pleasant when both parents and children, through the Lord’s precepts, gain understanding of His will (Psalm 119:104), motivated and enabled by the Gospel of what He has done and still does for their salvation (I John 4:19). The proper rearing of our children demands “bring[ing] them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4b). Such a God pleasing example of Christian parents will in years to come still be so vivid in the minds of their children and so powerful as to exert a most beneficial influence on them (Proverbs 22:6). Therefore let it be our resolve: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Prayer — Dear heavenly Father, grant me grace constantly to delight in Thy Word, so that I gladly hear it, read it, meditate upon it, and keep it, and with it minister also unto others, particularly to my family. Let me speak of it day and night, and let my mouth show forth Thy righteousness and praise to the glory of Thy grace in Christ Jesus, my Savior. Amen.
Unseal our lips to sing Thy praise, our souls to Thee in worship raise.
Make strong our faith, increase our light, that we may know Thy name aright. Hymn 3, 2
Blest such a house! It prosper well, in peace and joy the parents dwell,
and in the children’s lot is shown how richly God can bless His own. Hymn 625, 4