As I was sitting in church yesterday a thought hit me. I looked around at all of the families sitting together and wondered if there is anywhere else in our society, besides the local church , where families sit together in a display of unity.
We live in a world where divorce rates are high and adding to that, more and more families are choosing to forgo marriage altogether. Few families are functional enough to have a quiet, sit down meal around the dining room table without the entertainment of a tv or tablet. (It astounds me how many homes I enter where a family has just given up on the notion of a family eating space.). The shows they watch on those tvs or tablets show families even more dysfunctional in many cases than the ones they are living in.
The local church where children and parents dress up in their “respectable clothes” and sit and stand together, worshipping in unison, has to be a spectacle to the lost world in which we live. Something between a museum exhibit and an episode of Little House on the Prairie. (Which is practically the same thing.)
One of the greatest benefits of an old fashioned church is that my children will grow up in a context where family unity, at least the show of family unity, is the norm. There opinion of family won’t be colored so much by Modern Family or Family Guy as by the Janssens who sit on the other end of the church pew. That is an extremely positive, and extremely rare thing in 2013.
We aren’t a family-integrated church, we do have programs for young people, but one thing I insist on is that we stay together, that we worship together, sitting with our families, at least until the preaching starts. It may make for an awkward two minute transition period before the preaching starts, but I think two minutes of awkwardness is a great trade off for twenty-five minutes of family unity. Where else are they going to see it?