Monday, March 14, 2005

The Key to the Spiritual Health for Your Family

In his book, The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions, Terry Johnson writes about the most essential tool for the spiritual health of a family:

What then is the first key to a Christian family’s spiritual health? Though you may not have anticipated our answer, we are quite sure that we are right. The key is not new. It is not novel. It will not reveal long hidden mysteries, disclose any secret formulas, provide any new techniques, or require lengthy or costly counseling.

What is it? Simply, the first and primary key to your family’s spiritual health is a commitment to the weekly public worship services of the church. The most important single commitment you have to make to ensure your family’s spiritual well-being is to regular, consistent attendance at public worship.

Sound far-fetched? I’ll say it even stronger. I have yet to meet a person for whom it could not be said that all of his problems, personal, marital, familial, or vocational would not be solved by such a commitment. I do not believe that the person for whom this is not true exists. By saying so, I do not minimize the seriousness of the problems that people face. Rather I maximize our confidence in the power of the gospel. So I’ll say it again: we do not know of anyone of whom it could not be said, if only he were in worship week in and week out, fifty-two weeks a year, year after year, his problems would be basically solved.

…The key to your own and your family’s spiritual health is remarkably simple. Though there is considerable hype to the contrary, it involves no pilgrimages to sacred places. It requires no week-long or weekend retreats, seminars, or special programs. It depends on no special techniques or novel methodologies. You won’t have to spend yet another night out. You won’t need to add more meetings to an already frantic schedule. The key is to be found in the regular, ordinary, weekly worship services of the church. It is not a glamorous key, but it is the key nonetheless. (pp. 3, 5)

If this is taken in the sense that there is something magical or automatic about church attendence, this surely is far-fetched. But if one recognizes that the gathering of the church is to be the primary place for the means of grace--the Word preached, the sacraments administered, and prayers offered--then this countercultural counsel is worthy or our deepest consideration.