“I hate poetry!” English teachers hear this phrase every time they mention the “p” word. Poetry has become synonymous with words like “confusing” and “pointless,” or phrases like “out-of-date” and “hard-to-understand.” If this rings true with you, then let me change the subject for a minute…to twenty-first century Western culture.
We like our communication fast—texts; we like our food fast—McDonald’s; we like our cooking fast—microwaves. Our culture is filled with services and devices that provide ease and speedy convenience. As a result, we have come to expect everything to be fast, easy and just-a-click away. Our collective cultural “attention span” is becoming shorter by the second: when surfing the internet for example, the average viewer will spend fewer than 5 seconds on a webpage before clicking away. The problem with “fast, easy and convenient” is the accompanying lack of depth, vitality and longevity. Few of us cherish emails the way we might cherish a handwritten note or letter; few of us remember the last fast-food meal or celebrate the microwave meatloaf the way we remember and celebrate Grandma’s turkey dinner or homemade pie.
So what do emails, Big Macs and microwaves have to do with poetry? These icons of cultural convenience have very little to do with poetry, other than to serve as a stark contrast: poetry is anything but fast, easy or convenient. So why should Christians bother investing time and energy into understanding poetry? Because poetry helps us to slow down, ponder and understand the deep and profound realities of God’s universe. While our culture is chock-full of vapid, ephemeral experiences, God’s creation is full of inspiring, rich and eternal experiences. “Be still,” the psalmist writes, “and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In our fast-paced, non-stop, 24/7 culture, reading poetry teaches us to slow down and “be still.” Poetry instills in us the habit of remembering and reflecting on who we are, who God is, and what life is all about.
Poetry is also a powerful way to express the wonder, depth and beauty of God’s world and to capture the essence of our human experience. Nowhere is this more evident than in the poetry of the Bible. The great poems of the Psalms have been the mainstay of many Christians through times of trial and joy; the depth and profundity of the Psalms are in part due to the medium of poetry. This is true with hymns as well; Christians cherish the poetry of hymns sung weekly during church meetings. But our enjoyment of poetry should not be limited to the psalms or to hymns. All great poets are great observers; they hold up a mirror to ourselves and to society, so they have much to teach us about life on earth. In a powerful way, they urge us to stop and reflect on our human experience, God’s universe and his goodness to us in a world mired in sin.
As we read a broad range of poetry, both secular and sacred, we will be challenged to look at ourselves and God’s world with fresh perspectives. Our ability to appreciate the Psalms and hymnody will also be enhanced by concerted attention to all kinds of poems. Most importantly, perhaps, we will learn to pause in our hectic lives in order to take in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.
 This essay is reprinted from Jeremy W. Johnston, All Things New: Essays on Christianity, culture & the arts (Kitchener: Joshua Press, 2018), 59 – 61.
Now that so many of us are working from home, the line between “work-work” and “home-work” is getting blurred. We find ourselves spending our days doing several domestic tasks amid our other responsibilities for our jobs. Work-at-home moms and dads are busy writing reports, responding to emails, and taking conference calls while making PB&J sandwiches, repairing the broken doorknobs, and fixing leaky taps. When does the workday end? Is there time for leisure and recreation? Unless you are a regular stay-at-home parent or homeschooling mom, this is all new territory.
In Brother Lawrence’s book, The Practice of the Presence of God, the 17th-century monk encourages us both to glorify God and know his presence while doing the most menial of tasks like mopping the floor or peeling potatoes!
Medieval monks spent a lot of their time labouring and serving, often at lowly and humble chores. Based on the monks’ talents and aptitudes, they were assigned jobs like washing, food preparation, cleaning, farming, scribing, carpentry, masonry, tending to the sick, etc. We can learn from our medieval brothers how to manage our responsibilities and how to glorify God in the small tasks of day-to-day living. In Brother Lawrence’s book, The Practice of the Presence of God, the 17th-century monk encourages us both to glorify God and know his presence while doing the most menial of tasks like mopping the floor or peeling potatoes!
One of the ways monks made the most of their time was augmenting their daily chores with the honing and development of other valuable skills. Since the collapse of Roman civilization, monks preserved and mastered expertise in a variety of areas. For example, monks practiced reading and writing, singing, book-binding, brewing beers, wine-making, medicine and herbology, gardening, engineering, carpentry, teaching, and a host of other activities. Although many monastic orders left little time for leisure, some of the jobs assigned to monks might be considered hobbies by today’s standards.
So what do hobbies have to do with the Christian faith? Recently during an online Q&A session for 2020 Together For the Gospel conference, Al Mohler spoke about needing a “theology of leisure” and how Christians can “glorify God with our hobbies.” Mohler’s statements may have shocked some Christians, especially dyed-in-the-wool evangelicals. How can hobbies advance the Kingdom of God? Why waste time on hobbies when we should be evangelizing? We need to be careful about how we “redeem the time” God has given to us (Ephesians 5:16). The Bible reminds us often how fleeting our lives are (see, for example, Psalm 90:12; 144:4; James 4:13-17; 1 Peter 1:24). But evangelism is not our primary function as Christians: glorifying God is. The classic catechism question—what is the chief end of man—is answered with “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Part of glorifying God—making his greatness known—is telling others about Jesus and the Good News. During this time of COVID-19 lockdown, there are new and exciting ways to share the gospel and evangelize (see, for example, the TGC article “10 Simple Ways to Evangelize During a Pandemic”) We also have more time with family, which means more opportunities to disciple your kids in Christ and lead your family in home worship.
But we also have more time for hobbies.
Activities like gardening, photography, poetry, playing an instrument, learning a second language, sewing, wood-working, painting, drawing, blogging, composing, and cooking (just to name a few). How can our hobbies glorify God?
To help answer that question, I turn to young David on the run from King Saul. I have often wondered what David did in the Cave of Adullam or in the wilderness. What did he do with the extra time he had while in forced “isolation” and “social distancing” as King Saul relentlessly hunted him? One thing is for sure: he wrote poems. We wouldn’t usually call the psalms of David a product of mere “hobby,” but that is what they were. The lyrics that appear in the Book of Psalms are uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit, but the skill of writing poems is perhaps talent that David honed while passing the time as a shepherd to his father’s sheep. Like playing the harp, poetry was one of the ways David used his gifts. Often the Lord uses our gifts and abilities not only for our enjoyment but also as a means to bless and minister to others. For example, the guitar or piano hobbyist ends up accompanying worship music; the poet hobbyist becomes a hymn writer; the hobby baker ends up blessing others with hospitality; the dabbler in languages becomes a missionary or translator… These sorts of applications aren’t needed to justify hobbies, but who knows what the Lord will do with the gifts, talents, and skills honed while practicing a hobby?
Devaluing seemingly “unspiritual work” often leads us to the wrong idea that there is a separation between “church life” and “everyday life.” In truth, there’s just life. We live every moment “coram Deo,” that is, before the face of God.
Even in more focused ways, the Lord using our hobbies to teach us to be patient, or more loving, or humble, or sacrificial. He may use our hobbies to draw us closer to him, as Brother Lawrence writes: “God has many ways of drawing us to Himself.”
Perhaps most importantly, using our gifts and abilities well glorifies the One who made you. You are not a cosmic fluke, but a carefully designed person made in the image of God. God created you with unique and individual gifts and abilities. He did not bless you with artistic skills, for example, to not use or hone that skill! Working at your hobbies is really about stewarding the gifts—and now time—that God has given to you.
The point is, don't underestimate hobbies. It’s an unbiblical view that “God’s business” is limited to evangelism, Sunday school, and sermons. As essential as these activities are, our God is much bigger than that. Devaluing seemingly “unspiritual work” often leads us to the wrong idea that there is a separation between “church life” and “everyday life.” In truth, there’s just life. We live every moment “coram Deo,” that is, before the face of God.
I recently heard this quotation from Charles Simeon, who writes that “there are but two lessons for Christians to learn: the one is, to enjoy God in everything; the other is, to enjoy everything in God.” Take some time, fellows monks, and develop an enjoyable skill and talent that has been collecting dust on the shelves of your minds and hearts. Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.
 The Shorter Catechism: A Baptist Version (New Jersey: Simpson Publishing, 1991), 1.
 Paul Worcester writes, “The gospel can’t be quarantined”—see article link here.
 See my previous blog post, “The Art of Worship at Home” (link here)
 Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 57
"Mercy on doubters" Here is an excerpt from a guest blog post I wrote for Hill City Baptist Church in Peterborough, Ontario (April 9, 2020).
FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: FRIEND TO DOUBTERS
A number of years ago I read a biography of the life of Francis Schaeffer, a Christian thinker and writer from the 20th century. A number of things struck me about the life of this extraordinary man. Certainly I was impressed by his intellectual devotion to orthodox and reformed theology and his passion for evangelism and gospel ministry. What struck me most, however, was the impact Schaeffer had on doubters and agnostics—people who weren’t sure what they believed or if they believed at all. It was an impact that no doubt stemmed both from Schaeffer’s commitment to the historical reality of the Christian faith and his ability to articulate such truths to a younger generation.
When we think of monasteries, we think of medieval monks cloistered away from society and living in silence amidst a formidable fortress of solitude. Historically, that certainly was true in many cases. In an effort to live holy and pure lives, many monastic orders retreat from the world, and even from each other. In a Benedictine monastery, for example, monks were not permitted to speak, even at the dinner table… and not even to ask someone to pass the butter! “Monks should cultivate silence at all times,” writes St. Benedict. There’s a belief that wrong behaviour can be easily addressed by limiting our behaviour. Although we could probably learn to say fewer words (and so get into less trouble), such external restrictions lead to legalism and deny the powerful work of the Spirit in a believer’s life.
In fact, the Spirit often uses our interactions with others to teach us how to be more like Jesus. For example, you never realize how proud you are until someone offends you! You never realize how little patience you have until someone exasperates you! We not only need those offensive and trying people but we ought to thank God for them!
"The temptation to avoid others so that you can live a perfect and holy life is what makes monastic living so appealing to so many."
The temptation to avoid others so that you can live a perfect and holy life is what makes monastic living so appealing to so many. Human beings are always striving for an ideal world—a heaven on earth—and unfortunately, Christians are no exception. Just like medieval monks, modern Christians tend to retreat from the challenging demands of staying connected with fellow believers, especially those “difficult to love” saints in their local church. The current crisis has certainly exasperated this tendency toward isolation. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, however, to not neglect meeting “together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
We are tempted to turn to our favourite online preachers or authors, and campout in social media echo-chambers. We may even focus on our own spiritual growth—which is valuable and essential; however, God has not only called us to be devoted to him but also to love our neighbours.
During this COVID-19 crisis, as many Christians are unable to meet with their congregations or even interact with their family or neighbours, be sure that you are still connecting with the saints. Pick up the phone, chat via texting, send an email, use one of the many online video chats (Google Hangouts, Skype, Google Duo, Zoom, Webex, just to name a few free applications). You need to body of Christ to help you be more like Christ, and the body needs you to help them become more like Christ too.
So fellow COVID-19 monks, don’t be a recluse! Be sure to “break the silence” from time to time, and reach out (virtually) to fellow saints, friends, family, missionaries, pastors, neighbours… especially those who are on their own. “As iron sharpens iron,” the Proverb declares, “so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
For more on the importance of staying connected to the body of Christ, here’s a link to a sermon I preached at Rosedale Baptist Church call “Why Your Church Matters” on Ephesians 4:1-16.
 Benedict, and Timothy Fry. The Rule of St. Benedict in English. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2018.
A Series of Blogs on Surviving and Thriving During Coronavirus Lockdown
Although there are many negative and tragic consequences of the present COVID-19 pandemic, there are also many unexpected benefits. Now that I am working from home, for example, I have opportunities to see my family more during lunch breaks, snack time, and quick trips to the loo. I also have fewer distractions and more time on my hands. There’s no commute to work, no digressive chats by the water cooler, no hunting down staplers or office supplies, no neckties or polished dress shoes. Even after work, we have more time: stadiums, theatres, museums, malls have all been shuttered. What to do with the time given to us?
I’m not saying we need to start chanting in Latin, wearing robes and sandals around the house, shaving the tops of our heads, or remaining silent at the dinner table… Nor am I saying we need to retreat from the world and try to create heaven on earth sanctuary. Such are the dangers and pitfuls of historical monasticism. Instead, like the monks, we can carve out daily times for prayer, meditation, and fasting throughout the day. Like Jesus, who retreated to the wilderness for prayer and fasting, we too have a chance to “retreat” for the refreshment of our souls and we, also, can pray ardently for the greatness of God to be made known to our lost world (Matthew 4:1; Luke 5:16).
A Modern Monk’s Call to Prayer
While working from home, I find it easy to lose track of time and to work, and work, and work. I also find that there is an explosion of good distractions on social media... seminars, articles, blogs, videos, sermons… So we need to schedule times to pray and to take breaks. Taking scheduled breaks, in fact, is essential to be truly productive. To help with this, I have preset alarms on my phone roughly matched to a handful of monastic prayer times. The alerts on my phone are choral voices singing Latin prayers written during the Middle Ages; I also have one alarm set as church bells… but that’s just me! Do what works for you. I set a pre-break alarm to give myself a five-minute window to finish up tasks before taking a 20- or 30-minute break. I also keep a notepad nearby to jot down “to do” tasks that I don’t want to forget when I get back to work after my break for prayer or rest. Also, note by writing things down, this enables you to forget about whatever you’re working on while taking a prayer or rest break. It’s also important to get up and move away from your work area to a different location.
In the next couple of blog posts, I will write about ways to maximize the new monastic lifestyle, I’ll examine aids to prayer, and I will discuss fasting, which John Piper calls “the handmaid of faith.” In the meantime, here are the traditional times of prayer in a monastery. I don’t do Matins (too early), but I do Prime, Terce, Sext, and None. I slightly alter the times to suit my schedule, responsibilities, and commitments.
Before Christ awakens our soul to a new life in him, we may be quite content with our lives. We feel as though we are kings of our circumstances, and we believe that we are free to live and do as we please. In truth, we are bound by the world, our flesh, and the evil one. Although we “rule” a space no bigger than a nutshell, we count ourselves a “king of infinite space.” This line (and the title of this sonnet) comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where Hamlet states that, like us, he would be content to be king of a trouble-free kingdom, even if it’s as small as a nutshell.
Yet, thankfully, Christ doesn’t leave us to our false comforts and our delusions of kingship… he unravels a person’s life, shatters our crowns, and breaks our scepters. In her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosaria Butterfield calls her conversion to Christianity a “train-wreck” as she describes how Christ dramatically upended her life, her career, and her relationships. The metaphor is apt—Christ literally breaks into our lives, shattering our old ways of doing things and our old ways of thinking about things. Although an incalculable blessing, being “born again” is as dramatic as physical birth. When we encounter God, we meet the true King of Infinite Space. This poem is meant to capture this conversion experience.
 Rosaria Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant, 2012), 25.
I travelled to Great Britain a few years ago with my wife. On our first day exploring the sprawling city of London, we came upon St. Paul’s Cathedral. The early 18th century cathedral is an architectural masterpiece designed by Christopher Wren; however, what we found when we went inside was no mere monument to a man’s creative and engineering genius. We found a place to worship God. I wrote this poem describing our experience attending an evensong service at St. Paul’s.
Evensong at St. Paul’s
Jeremy W. Johnston
In a city of beautiful buildings, here is another,
yet unlike any other: St. Paul’s.
We walk, we gaze, we wonder
is there time?--
The evening is here. Day is closing for the day.
But then a sign
calls us—a literal sign—invites us to
We climb up stone steps, enter in.
Even the small doors seem massive doors,
weighty tomes hanging on brass hinges
that shut out distractions, shut in the distracted.
The walking and talking and busyness and bustle all
become strangely dim. Silence becomes our song.
We are submerged into the stunning stillness.
So much larger on the inside.
Look up, can’t help but look up—in life we need to look up more.
A twilight, sky-like ceiling and world-like walls, so vast yet still too small.
Even here is too finite for the infinite to
This man-made place for the maker of man:
the best we can do—this! is barely a droplet of dew.
Outside, we’re wanderers in this city, tourists in town, set apart, outsiders.
We’re aliens in—but not of—this urban place.
But in here, inside,
We’re now in and a part of this sacred space.
The ancientness. The art. The Faith. I belong here.
Still I feel painfully exposed and alone.
It’s humbling to be so small for this brief hour.
God seems so distant here because he is echoed everywhere.
Indeed, we are separated by an infinite divide
but we begin to chant, and recite, and sing, and hear of the One
who fills the boundless chasm, who spans the ever-expanding space.
Holy words for Holy God; carefully prepared words,
some ancient, some old, some uttered soft, some spoken bold.
Haunting voices rising up to darkness and mystery--
my ears, my neck, my mind, my skin—I feel the sound of truth
immersing me, gently washing over me like the very breath of God.
Words so right and real; this place, so here and now.
God’s beauty is seen, the goodness of the Good News is heard--
every note, every utterance, every square inch alludes
to his wonder, his transcendence, his descent, his ascent, his nearness,
This is Evensong. This evening service of prayers, Psalms, and singing
a symbol of unity, harmony
a paradox of the near farness of God.
Liturgy, ritual, words recited, words sung--
We’re reminded that this is a religion as well as a relationship.
He is Creator, we are created. We are together, we are alone.
This is not yet heaven, though it is heaven that this hour harkens us to see.
So, despite the wonder, so much to look at, too much to take in,
I still find myself on this earth. My feet still feel the floor.
My body is still a body, pulled down by gravity of the world
So the tide begins to rise, the tide of blood, muscle, and bone rises
over my mind, my soul.
My weary traveller’s bones—the night of flying, the day of walking,
the hunger for seeing, the desire for doing, and the peace
of this place--
overtake me. My lids slip down beneath the surface,
over my eyes,
like the not-so-watchful three in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This edifice, this service, my effort to worship
One who exceeds imagination.
We’re always reaching up, but you, O God,
must always lift us up.
And you do.
Although opera houses, theatres, and cinemas are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many theatre companies are offering video downloads of some of their performances (see, for example, The Royal Opera House or the Metropolitan Opera). “But why opera?” you may ask… Often sung in Italian or German and often running two or more hours, opera can be a challenging art form to understand and value. This blog post considers what Christians can gain from listening to and learning to appreciate opera. As a unique art form combining multiple genres, opera offers audiences piercing insights into the human condition, insights that are powerful and illuminating. Opera also challenges audiences to engage their imaginative minds as they take in the broad range of artistic elements presented in an operatic production. 
"Opera challenges the listener to exercise their full imaginations. Audiences need to exert actively a 'willing suspension of disbelief' while viewing the operatic performance..."
Art doesn’t presume to be the thing that it depicts. A photo of a tree isn’t a tree and a portrait of a woman isn’t a woman. Opera, however, seems to embrace fully the fact that it isn’t real—it’s wholeheartedly and unabashedly unrealistic. Take, for example, the prolonged operatic death scene: for ten minutes the heroine sings a solo—called an aria—with tremendous passion and enthusiasm, all the while she is dying. The treacherous and mortal wound is inflicted, the heroine is certain to die, yet she sings… and sings… and sings. To many people, this makes opera seem very silly indeed. To others, it may seem silly but, like the emperor and his new “clothes,” they pretend it’s profound but don’t know why. Opera, however, is profound and powerful precisely because it is unrealistic. Opera challenges the listener to exercise their full imaginations. Audiences need to exert actively a “willing suspension of disbelief” while viewing the operatic performance. Unlike a modern cinematic Imax or 4-D virtual experience, which seeks to trick the audience into thinking they are actually immersed in an experience through eye-popping visual effects, immersive surround-sound and vibrating chairs, the audience of opera is never tricked into thinking the events on the stage are real. Instead of portraying realism, opera attempts to reflect “reality” by means of symbolism. The key to enjoying good opera is to realize that it attempts to function symbolically as “total art.” Opera is “total art” because it capitalizes on all of the resources of nearly every artistic form; at its disposal opera has orchestral and vocal music, poetry and drama, dance, choreography, and a host of visual arts—painted backdrops, sculptures, costumes, set pieces and props—all to convey symbolic meaning. The renowned musicologist, Aaron Copland, writes, “One must be willing to allow that symbolic things mirror realities and sometimes provide greater esthetic pleasure than the merely realistic. The opera house is a good place in which to find these symbolic pleasures.”
Opera also amplifies the human experience for all to hear and see. The power of the prolonged death sequence, for example, is that it slows down and magnifies a heartrending moment in time, allowing the audience to grasp the full weight of emotional and psychological trauma that the dying victim is enduring. The audience gets to witness the feelings of deep betrayal, the impending sense of finality and the reality that one’s hopes will remain unfulfilled. This is what good opera typically does well: enlarging and fully displaying the human emotional and psychological experience for all to see, hear and feel. Humanity’s greatness and folly, triumph and tragedy are showcased with the full weight of an operatic masterpiece. Opera presents a deeper insight into reality, which a realistic “death” would fail to do. In a realistic portrayal, if you blink, you miss it; opera doesn’t allow the audience to miss anything. So good opera, then, is profoundly real yet not realistic—real in its attempt to cause the audience to pause, reflect and respond to the magnified spectacle of human triumph and tragedy.
Christians can gain a great deal of insight into the human experience—the depth of human depravity and folly, the extent of human pride, and the beauty of love and sacrifice—all laid out and magnified before them on the opera stage. But learning to appreciate opera may also help Christians to slow down and better understand what God is doing in their own lives. So often, we rush through life without sufficient reflection or deep consideration of what God is doing or saying. Too often in our Bible readings we zoom through the text and sometimes miss the wonderful truths he has for us in his Word. Take, for example, Mary’s Magnificat recorded in Luke. Robert C. Tannehill in his essay, “The Magnificat as Poem,” points out that the narrative flow in Luke’s gospel is seemingly interrupted by Mary’s song of praise (Luke 1:46-55). This interjection, Tannehill argues, is intentionally designed to cause readers to pause and reflect on the magnificent events that have just occurred in the story so far. He writes, "the Magnificat is like an aria in opera. The artistic conventions of opera allow the composer to stop the action at any point so that, through a poetic and musical development exceeding the possibilities of ordinary life, a deeper awareness of what is happening may be achieved. A similar deep participation in the meaning of an event is made possible by the placement of this poem in Luke’s narrative."
Like an aria in an opera, Mary’s hymn slows the narrative down allowing readers to truly reflect on what is transpiring in Luke chapter 1. Mary’s song literally magnifies the moment—the pivotal moment in history, the incarnation—by putting a spotlight on what God has done and will do, and like an operatic aria, amplifies Mary’s emotional, psychological and spiritual response for all to see and hear. In so doing, the Magnificat invites the reader, like an audience at the opera, to reflect and respond with Mary in her praise of her Saviour and her God. Opera, like Mary’s “Magnificat,” can teach us to slow down and take in all that we are seeing and hearing on the stage, in life and in the Word.
Not all opera is good opera. As one opera aficionado pointed out to me, some operas are merely vehicles for narcissistic soloists seeking self-glorification. Nevertheless, Christians can learn to appreciate and enjoy opera and benefit from deeper insights into the human experience as well as be encouraged to pause and reflect on the marvellous work of God in our lives, day to day and moment by moment.
 Originally published in Barnabas, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Summer 2018): 20.
 The phrase, “willing suspension of disbelief” comes from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817)
Chapter XIV, and has been wildly applied to works of poetry, theatre and opera to mean an audience’s willingness to exercise an imaginative and poetic faith in the work of art, believing that the events are real and deciding not to “see” the stage, actors or set so as to enter into and experience the performance more fully.
 Aaron Copland, What to Listen for in Music. Penguin Putnam, 2011, p.185.
 Robert C. Tannehill, “The Magnificat as Poem.” Journal of Biblical Literature 93, no. 2 (1974): 265
 This opera aficionado is my dear friend Gordon Vanderwoude.
With the restriction on group gatherings, many saints are now worshipping God at home. Although worshipping at home is no substitute for meeting with the local church, under the current circumstances, it has become our “new normal.” The challenge is that many Christians have never planned or led a worship service before. I have been a dad for over twenty years, and during those years, I have led many times of family worship of one kind or another. I have also had the privilege of leading congregational worship. Easing into our present “new normal” of worship-at-home was fairly natural for our family and for me. But it occurred to me that it might be helpful for me to share some tips that we have learned along the way. I hope this will be of some use to you during the COVID-19 lock-down!
What we have been doing during our home services:
Family worship can come in multiple forms. It is less formal than a congregational worship service but more formal than gathering for a game of Monopoly. Find the right balance. Your family should feel at home, but they should also be aware that they are gathering to worship a Holy God. Your service should be delightful but also serious. May the Lord bless you as you seek to honour him in your homes!
Jeremy W. Johnston
Christian, husband, father, teacher, writer.