Well, the Sandlin household has had its first major religious schism. I for one am ready for it to end. Do I want it to end in order to restore family harmony? Not primarily. I need this religious schism to be healed for the sake of my hunger pains. You see, at every meal time, as we get ready to ask the Lord’s blessing, my children break up into two religious camps. The kitchen table has become the battle ground for the First Church-of-the-holding-hands vs. the First Church-of-the-folded hands.
In one corner sits Sophie the traditionalist. Well, at least she’s clinging to the tradition of our family, which is to hold hands while we pray. In the other corner sits John Curtis the iconoclast. I don’t know where he learned to fold his hands in prayer (my guess is at church), but he’s now decided that the folding of hands is the only proper way to pray. Usually, neither is willing to budge, which means Alyson and I sit in a holding pattern over our ever cooling meal while the young ones engage in their theological squabbles.
So far, we’ve not reached any lasting compromise. There are days when tired of waiting on agreement, Alyson and I pray with the children screaming at each other in the background. We’re a model pastor’s home. On other occasions, we reach a tentative peace by allowing John Curtis to pray with folded hands while everyone else holds hands. On a few blessed days, one of the children will lay aside their preferred form of prayer and actually suggest we do it the other’s way. It’s a picture of grace at work (and leads to hot food in my stomach).
My hope is that as my children grow and mature they will realize the importance of fellowship over form. My prayer is that they’ll so discover God’s presence in the corporate life of our family that they’ll gladly “give in” on issues of preference for the privilege of encountering God together. When I think about it, I’m pretty sure that’s God’s hope for his family as well.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men – Romans 14:17-18.