Scripture is irreplaceable in family worship. Its effects on the whole household especially in their spiritual development cannot be overemphasized. It has an intrinsic effect on the overall development of the children and all household members. Paul affirmed that the scripture is God-breathed; that is written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, which makes it error –free. It has the capacity to be up to the task of teaching, rebuking for bad behaviour, correcting when anyone errs, and training leaders to be efficient in their duties. The scripture becomes effective in the life of individual members exposed to it at various contexts such as the family, the Church or Para-Church context.
Family worship in African world is not limited to the Christians. Many families gather to worship whatever deity they serve. i.e. Sango (god of thunder), Oya (wife of Sango), Esu (Satan) etc in Yoruba culture. Other cultures too have various gods they gather together as family to worship. However, this study will focus on the effects of Scripture on Christian Family worship and spiritual development as revealed in Colossians 3:15-23. Christian family worship is a type of worship where families are gathered together in devotion and reference the one they adore. Another definition of family worship reads “When a family gathers together at home for prayer, Bible reading, and turning their hearts to the Lord”( http://www.visionaryfam.com). Assembling is an essential aspect of family worship, although there may be private or individual worship, this cannot be referred to as family worship. Having devotion and reverence characterize family worship and a doing aspect. That is the reading of the Bible, talking about it and singing.
Is There a Need For Family Worship?
An educator said “The church in North America is facing a crisis. We are losing the majority of our children to the world… between 60-80% of children growing up in our churches today are leaving the faith when they become adults” (http://www.whatchristianwansttoknow.com). Accessed 08-02-2014.This observation is not limited to the Church in North America alone but even here in Africa. The rate at which family disharmony is been expressed by teenagers and young adults today through defiant behaviour is alarming why? What has gone wrong? Who carries the blame? Is it the family, the Church or the society?
There may be many answers and many sides to address the above puzzle but a detailed reflection would likely finger the family for her role in raising their children not according to the dictates of the word of God. Similar to the above educator’s experience, many parents are busy training and discipline the children in the Church while they never see their own children as mission field for discipleship. In the process, many of these children are lost while they are still under the roof of their own family.
The focus of this work is to discover the effects of Scripture on family worship and Spiritual development; Implication from Colossians 3: 16-23. The work will examine the passage as a model on how the scripture could affect family worship and the spiritual development of members. Terms within the topic would be defined in the next paragraph for clarity and understanding.
Definition of Terms
For this work, Scripture means the Bible which is made up of both the old and new testaments.
Family worship “is the joint worship rendered to God by all the members of one household”(Alexander,1998:1). In this work, family worship means the assembling of family members talking about God and His word in Bible reading, teaching and admonishing one another with wisdom and singing psalms and spiritual songs to God in gratitude.
Worship is defined as “profound religious devotion and respect to; adore or venerate God or any person or anything considered divine” (Collins dictionary). Worship is “talking as a family about God and His Word” (http://www.visionaryfam.com). It is “honour paid to a superior being. It means to give homage, honour, reverence, respect, adoration, praise, or glory to a superior being.” (Arthur, 1985: 8). According to Arthur, it is from a common New Testament word proskuneo which means “to kiss toward, to kiss the hand, or to bow down, to prostrate oneself” To prostrate implies paying homage to someone who is superior. However, Christians give this veneration to God only.
While discussing about Theology of worship in Revelation, (Nihinlola, 2010:3) referred to many worship sessions in the book by pointing out “The twenty-four elders falling down, casting their crowns before the throne… Both groups (living creatures and elders) falling down and singing a new song (Rev.5:6-14)” This depicts the kind of adoration, respect and honour given to God only, in worship. (Adeloye, 2010:42) corroborate this by defining worship as paying homage and obeisance to God. Giving him all the respects and honour due Him” the implication of this is that at worship the posture taken by the worshipper matters. As no one can stand at ease before even an earthly king.
Spiritual development is a process of divine, non-physical growth, improvement or maturity of an individual. Growth is a natural process for a child passing through space of time or a process. While speaking on spiritual development, (Trone, 2002:72) observed in his write-up titled worship in the book of revelation said “Throughout the history of the ages, people’s eyes have habitually looked elsewhere for ‘Spiritual’ fulfilment to things or circumstances over which they retain control” Seeking for spiritual fulfilment from elsewhere other than God is idolatry. Children must be directed early enough to set their hearts on the true God for whatever they need accomplish or undertake. To be spiritually fulfilled in the true God is part of spiritual growth and development.
Collins defines development as “the act or process of growing, progressing or developing”.
A Call for Family Worship
Family Worship: A Command
In Deuteronomy 6:5-7 we find what Jesus called “the first and greatest commandment”, which is called Shema in the Old Testament. It reads “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength…” The next thing God said was a command for parents to impress this in the hearts of their children. The scenario presented here is to have the basis of teaching right from the home, beginning with family; parents are to stress the love of God in the hearts of the children and all households.
Parents’ Call as Teacher, Abraham: a Model
In Genesis: 18: 18-19, The Lord said, Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.
God choose Abraham for two purposes. First, He wanted all the nations to be blessed through him. Secondly, He wanted him to teach his children and household righteousness and justice. “And the starting point for that is Abraham’s faithfulness as a parent – he was chosen so that he would guide his children and household- extended family, servants etc” in the way of God. (Greg Priebbenow) http://formingfaith.wordpress.com). Abraham was faithful to God and for His seed to enjoy the promise; he had responsibility to teach them to do right and be just. The promise of God for chosen Abraham had the undertone of a family ministry where he could influence the entire family for God. Considering the command in Deut. 6:5-7 earlier mentioned, parents have the privilege to discuss the scripture with the household using every form of method-while sleeping, when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. The next question is why family worship?
The Benefits of Family Worship
There are many benefits derived from family worship. According to educators at http://www.visionaryfam.com, first, family worship deepens and strengthens family relationships. Secondly, Family worship provides an opportunity for parents to take the lead in passing faith to their children. Thirdly, families that worship at home bring that spirit of worship into the church. Fourthly, gives opportunity to families to acknowledge their responsibilities as families to God. Fifthly, it gives them the grace to offer thanks to God as families for all the blessings in Christ Jesus. Sixthly, Alabi, 2010: 28 sees family worship as “avenue that makes faith meaningful because it can be related naturally to daily life of the family and also as an avenue for discipleship and nurturing in faith or spiritual development both practically and theoretically.” In other words, the family worship provides enabling environment to understanding faith and developing faith in the family member’s lives. Finally, it gives them opportunity to make supplications for enablement to live to fulfil the demands of the call of God with its attendant responsibilities. A thoroughly equipped man of God is that man/woman who is capable, complete and is up to the task of ministry. Consideration for all the above reasons, lead the writer to examine the place of scripture in Family worship. To be contd.