Establishing a family altar amid church closures and coronavirus.
At this time when the world is facing the disarray of coronavirus pandemic, the tension and anxiety are so high that everyone is nervous about their lives. It is interesting that the very powerful countries that manufacture nuclear weapons, atomic missiles, etc. up to now are still failing to come up with what can cure it now.
This COVID-19 has shaken everyone; big and small, wise and fool, rich and poor, every race is under panic, developed and developing countries. It is at this time that we need to recognize that there is someone higher above us who has power over everyone, everything under the sun (1 Chronicles 29:11).
Some countries which are not yet swept off by this COVID-19 could not wait to see the worst happen. Some countries decided to stop schools and all institutions of learning.
This did not spare churches and mosques as well as all religious groups from conducting services, fellowships, overnights, etc except if people don’t exceed 10 in number like in Uganda . This leaves me pondering upon families which have more than 10 people under one roof on a daily basis. Will they also close their homes or will they divide themselves among relatives who have less than 10 people to fit the president’s directives? Such are questions which I and you may not be able to answer now. Remember, no one is sure how this will end. We are now looking at one month but if nothing changes, we may find ourselves quarantined in our houses longer than anticipated.
It is from here that as children of God, we need to think of a sustainable solution beyond what we see or hear. I trust such circumstances are the reasons why Paul tells Timothy “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). We need to be ready in and out of season, prepared to keep our Christian walk stronger amidst lack of the custom to gather together for church services, overnights, fellowships (Hebrews 10:25).
Paul also tells the Philippians that “therefore, my beloved, as just have always obeyed, not only in presence but now even more in my absence, continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). This is a big test for those who only work out their salvation when only in church circles.
‘As Joshua said, ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15), it is high time we established church services in our own homes and as a family, continue to seek the Lord. I look at it as an opportunity to exercise our faith in all circumstances.’
For many Christian families, they believe that spiritualties are meant to be held only in designated church buildings. Start a family Altar in your homes with your family members and turn it into a church. An Altar connotes a place of intimacy and communion with God. Instead of relying on televisions, radios and social media to attend or have services on Sundays or a day of your gathering, do it yourself with your family. Fathers are priests and spiritual leaders in their homes.
Some families may not be having either of these gadgets or there could be issues of a power shutdown or network challenges and Data/OTT and so you cannot watch the programme. What will happen in such incidences? Will your family, therefore, miss on a Sunday service? Thus, be the reverend/pastor for this season and let your family experience what they have been exercising at church. God is omnipresent and omniscient. Job 34:21 “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.” Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”
Secure a spiritual atmosphere in your home by establishing family altars and you stay in devotion and communion with God daily. His presence is right there with you as it would be at church fellowship. This will increase your family intimacy with God. Children will know that you can seek God from wherever you are and he hears you (Jeremiah 29:13-14a).
The family will develop a discipline of spending time with God than ever before like Apostle John did at the Island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelations and Paul in prison where he wrote most of his epistles to God’s children across the world.
How to do it!
Set time apart on Sundays and conduct a service in your home as it is done at church, have a service order. Organize time for intercessions, praise, and worship, testimonies, prayers, the word, offertory/tithing (and you can donate that money to the needy or send it on mobile money to your church pastor as the Anglican Archbishop advised), etc. You can only reserve certain rites to the ordained men of God. Let your children also get an opportunity of exercising what they do at church or school/institutions (SU/CU leaders, worship, bible study, fellowship leaders, etc.) in their home. Come up with a rota of a preacher, service leader, praise and worship for every Sunday in this one or more months.
Don’t be left out to enjoy God’s presence on Sundays because you are quarantined at home for one month. What if it goes beyond a month, will your family backslide or your spiritual lives go down?
Every opportunity that happens is for a reason and in all circumstances; we should draw more close to our God as the Psalmist desired to dwell in His presence all the days of his life and to gaze upon his beauty (Psalm 27:4). This will introduce the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship, teaching, and meditation on the word, and strong family fellowships in your home. Your children will be raised in a consistent fear of the Lord as you train them in the way they should go and when they grow up, they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
For you to realize 2 Chronicles 7:14, your family must be together in the same spirit of seeking God! Above all, keep your trust in God, no situation is permanent.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken (Ps. 16:8).
Written by Dickson Tumuramye in UG Christian News.
Dickson Tumuramye is a writer, child advocate, parenting coach, marriage counselor, researcher and a motivational speaker.