Many of my members have been unable to come to church for several weeks. It happens. Illness, travel to places without a local Lutheran Church (vacation, business trip, etc.) or some other strange event can all conspire to keep you away. What’s the best solution in a bad situation?
In scripture, we often see the head of the household take care of worship. There are some things you can’t do (the Lord’s Supper, for example). But reading the word, prayer, and teaching the family based on that word can all be done in the home. Actually – it really should anyway – even when you can come to church.
But for those days when going to church can’t happen, here’s a little tutorial for how to have church in the home:
- Get your devotional Bible, Hymnal, and a Devotional book if you have one.
- Gather at the Dining Room or Kitchen table.
- Go through a prayer office. Matins, Vespers, etc. If you’re comfortable singing, then sing the parts you know. Otherwise, speak them.
- For the “Sermon”, use your devotional, a pre-written sermon the pastor may have posted (either word for word, or summarize if you have small children), or some other writing.
- When you get to the prayers, you can use pre-written prayers to help guide your thoughts, or just ask God for whatever needs you may have. Remember the Second Commandment, “Call upon him in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.” If your prayers do those things, you’re probably on the right track.
The overall best resource I’ve found is an app called “PrayNow” by Concordia Publishing House. It automatically arranges all the daily readings you. It’s from the book “Treasury of Daily Prayer”, but the book is a bit large to carry around. The app puts everything right were you need it: A Psalm, Old Testament & New Testament reading, and a writing to help focus your thoughts. It also has a daily prayer. At only $7.99 it’s priced right. If you have a phone or tablet that you can read from, I highly recommend getting it. That way when you travel, you know that if you can’t find a church (or let’s be honest, if you find one but you can’t tell if it’s a church or a rock concert), you can still spend time in the Word and Prayer. As we learn in the Third Commandment, the Word and Prayer are what make a day Holy, not our works.
The first time you do it, it may feel a bit awkward. That will pass. Eventually it will be a very normal and comfortable thing to do.
If you don’t have the app, or a hymnal, here is a brief (one page) version of Matins you can print and use for the home: