In my home as a youth Sunday dinner was a special time. We ate together as a family every evening but Sunday was deemed to be a little different. It was a bit more formal. It was normal for most of us to pitch in on Sundays and help some, whether it was peeling potatoes, and whipping them after they’d boiled, or chopping up the salad; Sunday dinner was a time to work together as a family. In fact, as I reflect, all of Sunday was a family day. We would be at church at 9:00 AM for Sunday school classes. Worship services started at 10:15 and after sufficient time visiting after church we head for home, usually in two cars as there were six children in my family.
At noon we would be in the kitchen working to get dinner ready. I suppose it was a little special because we would eat in the dining room even when there was not “company”. And it was special because it always included a reading from the Bible. Oddly I don’t recall whether we worked our way all the way through or not. But we did read every week, picking up where we left off the prior week. I know there were places in Numbers that we skipped, it gets pretty boring. There were places in Song of Solomon that we skipped because it was too racy. And there were several places where the “begets” got too long and we skipped those as well. Odd how I remember what we missed and not what we read.
After dinner we had to wait, patiently, until my dad was ready, then we would read and pray the Lord’s Prayer together. There was no need to ask to be excused from the table as it was understood that at the “amen” we were released from our obligation to sit there and we could go. But not far because it was Sunday and Sunday was a day for family time. We’d read, nap, visit grandparents, and get ready to go back to church. Youth Choir practice started at 3:00 PM, youth group was at 4:30, evening church services were at 6:00 PM, so our day was full. It was all done all together and there was never a discussion about going, it was quite simply what we did every week, no matter what else was going on in life.
I do not want to start doing all day church marathons again. Seven hours of church for all those years was enough and as a minister, by 1:00pm, I am exhausted. But as I started writing, I was thinking of a comment that had been made to me several times in the past as an excuse to not come to church (not at Hope), that would go something like this, “well Sunday is the only day we get to spend together as a family.”
I believe families should spend a lot of time together and what better way to do that than enjoying one another as part of a community of faith working hard together to broaden one’s religious perspectives. What you do together as a family makes a difference and makes an impact young people will remember.
What do you want children to remember about how you choose to spend “family time”?