What’s so “just” about an Open Home?
December 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
Y’know for years I have struggled trying to find a kids/church balance. When Messy Boy was a baby, I dreamed of leaving him in creche as soon as possible, for him to be happy to be left, and for me to be able to get back into the service whether that was just to be able to hear the preach, or play or sing in the band.
Needless to say it didn’t quite happen like that.
What happened was that for a short while I made it out to evening groups. Then baby got a bit fussy. We did manage to put him to bed at other peoples’ houses on occasion but not that often. Over the past three years my physical attendance at our church has waxed and waned – as Boy headed towards two years old it was a sweet time for me as he started enjoying going to creche and I was able to get back into the band and start exercising my brain and fingers again a bit. We had a good time while he was two. Messy Dad and I would alternate who went out to homegroup and who would stay in with Boy. Then I got pregnant again and sickness stopped a lot of things, although I was singing and playing in the band still once a month (I reckon the bean enjoyed it, even if he did kick the bass guitar a few times!).
Since Baby has arrived though I’ve barely been to any homegroup meetings. Well, barely any evening meetings at all: Baby is one who likes his bed of an evening, and likes his Mama to be close. Which, in and of itself is something I don’t mind at all really! It means I get regular downtime in the evenings putting the boys to bed, and it’s a lovely way to end their day (and mine) by snuggling up together. And it’s something of a special occasion if I get to hear the preach of a Sunday morning. But, that said, my understanding of what Church is is changing as a result.
My “church”, as in, the gathering of God’s people, happens all over the place. At toddler groups. Cafès. The local indoor softplay. Creche. Coffee time after the official service has finished. Saturday morning breakfasts. Playdates. Online, even. Via text message, email, or phonecall.
See – what I’m realising is that church isn’t just Sunday mornings or midweek homegroup meetings. It’s not just the breakfast or evening prayer meetings. It’s whenever and wherever the people of God meet, with the Holy Spirit there (who lives in us, right? That’s kinda central really, so the Holy Spirit is there, fact): that’s Church. It’s being part of each others’ lives. I saw a funny little thing on facebook earlier about ‘fake’ vs. ‘real’ friends: how fake friends ask for food but real friends are the reason you’ve no food left; how fake friends knock on the door but real friends walk in and say “hi, I’m home!” It made me think because the way ‘real’ friends were described was how I’d think of family. Which is exactly what Church should be: family.
So what’s so “just” about an Open Home?! It’s not “just” an Open Home. It’s Life. Our life is an Open Home.
“They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.”
– Acts 2:46-47
There’s nothing “just” about an Open Home. It should be a very real part of daily life for Christians. For those, like me, who struggle to fit in to the norm of attending Sunday morning services and evening homegroups, open homes are essential for maintaining our spiritual life and staying connected to the wider Church.
So when you next see an invitation to an Open Home, and you’re struggling to stay alive in your faith, get along to it. It’s so much more than “just” company and a cup of tea.