OK, this is the end of my “The kids are gone to college and I feel melancholy and nostalgic” week. Thanks for putting up with me.
I am Husband. I am Father. I am called by God to be the spiritual leader in my home. It’s one of those callings I have received, of which I want to live a life worthy. Of.
So I make plans to have Family Worship. You know, a time to read Scripture, pray, discuss, and sing together as a family. It is a great plan, and I am a great planner, and it never seems to work.
I can envision it perfectly. We begin shortly after dinner. Everyone is home, the family is settling down for the night—it’s our own private vespers. I play a little guitar, and my family is transported to the very throne room of God. Then we read the Bible, and I expound upon the mysteries of Truth as my children sit, awestruck at their father’s wisdom, and my bride silently weeps with the knowledge that this spiritual Atlas is her soul mate. As we pray, we are drawn, singly and corporately, closer to the Lord. In nations around the globe, lives change and darkness is pushed back…
It’s a really good vision.
The reality…not so much.
See, the reality is that we seldom begin Family Worship until bedtime or well after bedtime. I tend to get unreasonable after a certain hour—that’s about the time we usually start. There’s no time for music, which is fine because my guitar playing is painful for all involved, so we just pray, and it ends up being pretty rote. Occasionally I’ll read Scripture—it takes about thirty minutes to make it through four lines because I am unreasonable and sleepy and because we have raised homeschoolers who like to actually understand what they read.
When the kids were little, we used to all climb up on the bed together for Family Worship. It was cuddly. These days we are all larger than we used to be, so we end up cramped and cross. We jostle each other and jockey for position. Holding hands is always entertaining, with teenage siblings in the mix.
At about this time the dog usually comes wandering in to lick any exposed feet, which transports you back from the Throne Room really quickly. If the offended flesh happens to belong to one of my ladies, screaming and leaping ensues. Meditation is replaced by pandemonium, and lives are not changed so much as threatened.
I’ve got to figure that God is more pleased with our pathetic attempts than with my glorious visions. We are a real family—frighteningly, annoyingly real—and I know that’s a priority for God. I’m not saying we can’t do better, because I know we can. He deserves our prime time, not our leftovers. Still, we bring him what we have, and who we are, and he does not turn us away.
As a Dad, I want to be a better leader. I want to inspire my family, and, frankly, impress them with my spiritual manliosity. It doesn’t often work out that way. I’ve heard leadership described like this: If you think you are a leader, take a look behind you. If someone is following, then you are leading. If not, then you are just out for a walk.
I look back, and they’re still with me. So, for better or for worse, I am the spiritual leader of my family. I will do all I can to do it right, and I will drink deeply of grace.
I’m not pleased with our worship. Praise God, he is.