It seems like we all struggle to make space for “Holy Things” in our regular lives, but maybe we’re making things too hard. What if the Holy things, and opportunities are already all around us? We just need to see them and then name them.
What if everything is Holy?
Jesus used the things he saw along the way to teach his followers about God’s way of “living and being” in the world. He used sparrows and lilies to remind us that God takes care of us, and we don’t need to worry about our lives.
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[a] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your span of life?[b] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the gentiles who seek all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God[c] and his[d] righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34
I believe that with Jesus, everything is sacred, and the things you do regularly can be sacred practices and even rituals.
But, what is a ritual?
According to Wikipedia, “a ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or revered objects. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community.” Wikipedia
You might already have a family ritual of having tacos on Tuesday nights or saying a prayer together before a meal or before bed, or reading the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, The Celtic Christians had prayers for doing everyday things, like lighting the fire before cooking breakfast, or saying a prayer for their family members as they made up their beds, or praying for the day as they walked to the fields or milked the cows.
Most of us don’t have to light a fire for cooking, or milk the cow for breakfast, but we can use everyday tasks as prayer practices. These actions can become part of your family’s spiritual practice or rituals.
Start with what you already do, and add meaning to it. It can be something you already do together. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking time to notice what Jesus is doing and giving him credit. Or taking time to be grateful, thanking Jesus for a beautiful sunset, or the much needed rain. You could take time to thank Jesus for the people who grew your food as you prepared dinner, or make lunches together. And taking time to notice and honor the abundance we have in simple things like electricity and running water! I am grateful each day for my dishwater and washing machine!
Rituals can be as simple as lighting a candle or saying a prayer. This could be done around the table or at bedtime or even each week on Taco Tuesday!
Light a candle. Have a candle for each member of your household to light as they share. Ask:
Where did you notice the Light and Love of Jesus today? Take time to say thank you to Jesus. Where did you feel close to the Light and Love of Jesus?
Where did you feel or notice being far from Jesus? Say you’re sorry if you need to.
And finally; how do you want to experience more of the Light and Love of Jesus tomorrow?
Driving somewhere in the car ….Silence and Celebration
Turn off the tunes and phones and practice silence together for 3 -5 minutes. You can add on to your time as you develop the practice. Set a timer on your phone and when the timer goes off break the silence and talk about what you noticed in the quiet. What did you see, hear, experience? You can do this in your home too.
Pick a song in the car that is your family can sing along to, that brings you joy and celebration. Play it each day and celebrate in joy! Maybe let each member of your family pick a celebration song! You can build a family playlist too.
Praying for others:
Brushing your teeth….if you use a regular tooth brush you can use a sharpie marker and write the name of two or three friends to pray for every time you brush your teeth. Pray for these friends to know the love of Jesus as you brush your teeth. 2 minutes of praying.
Create a prayer wall for you family with post it notes. Mine is near my coffee station where I make my french press everyday. This gives me at least 4 minutes to pray for friends and family every morning.
You can create a “stained glass window” using post-it notes…one window might be a “thank you God for…” adding things you are thankful for each day.
Another could be a “prayer wall” or window in your kitchen or family room where you will see it everyday…add post-it notes for people you are praying for, needs you have, prayers for people and places. Everyone gets to add to the wall.
A Family Prayer or Blessing:
Write a family blessing. Something you can pray each day over each person or together as a family.
You are/I am greatly loved by the Creator of the entire universe. Help me/us (name the child or person) to live boldly in that love. And help me to love others extravagantly today.
Help _____to notice you today Jesus, Help ____to pay attention and be surprised by your love and the beauty around them. Give her/him/them eyes to see and ears to hear your voice and know that they are greatly loved.
My friend pastor Meta Herrick Carlson has some great blessing books you might check out.
Chapstick Blessing. Brittany Sky of Eastend UMC here in Nasvhille, uses chapstick lip balm to draw a cross on the hand of her toddlers each morning when they leave her Sunday school classroom as a blessing to remind them they are loved by Jesus. Now, the kids are taking the lead and passing on the blessing using the chapstick to bless one another.
Learn the Lord’s Prayer in a new way:
Pray it together. A great way is to learn the Lord’s Prayer as a body prayer practice.
Aaron Henry & Mac Niequist teach us to pray the Lord’s Prayer with gestures. They would pray this each night as a family.
Don’t do all of these, just pick one that seems doable, interesting, and fits where you are. And don’t forget; these are practices, so they will take practice.
Summer is a great time to try new things with your kids and your grandchildren.
I”d love to hear about some of your own family prayer practices and rituals.
Feel free to share them in the comments! Lilly
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20
“God communicates with us by way of all things. They are messages of love.” – Ernesto Cardenal
“The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.” – Julian of Norwich
Originally published Youthfront Family Blog