April 11, 2020

Church, No? Jesus, Yes!

Last time around (see April 3, 2020 post) we shared seven things to do while church doors are closed for the sake of everybody’s health and wellness. Now here are a seven more, on similar subjects—reading, writing, singing, etc., but with significant differences, because you’re doing these. 

When You Are With Family

1. Read and Write

You can read a book on your own, and you can write a book on your own: read a book together with your family, and write a book together with your family. Read the Bible to your kids; read by listening—to those audiobooks of Christian stories on the radio or computer. Remember, this isn’t about weekdays. Read good books throughout the week, but Sabbath reading is special. Children, if they’re part of your group, will love reading more stories than ever about Jesus, and listening to them with you. Then write the story of your day: this isn’t journaling for the sake of accurate history—remembering precisely, no; it’s story writing for the sake of holy creativity (more about creativity later). No kids? You can still remember your own times—yesterday or long ago: thank God for them, and live them again in your new book.

2. Indulge Your Artist’s Vein

You and yours can design and draw, putter and paint. Spend time artistically; create memories that will bring glory to God. It’s what He made you for. Dress up as Bible characters and make videos of your dramas. It’s Easter time: do a passion play and share the product with your family and neighbors—distant bonding in times of social distancing. Share with your church family—including your Adventist Review family.

3. Sing

Remember the story about the shepherd youth who sent the giant Goliath “tumbling, tumbling, tumbling, tumbling down”? That how the King’s Heralds quartet sings it. And they say it’s been many people’s favorite song. They should know; they’ve been singing all over the world for more than 90 years. You can sing along with their recording—if you’ve got it and love it too. Or sing the songs you love—praise and worship songs; old, classic hymns. Share the thrill of Gaither homecomings; record your own song videos for later viewing. Again, send them to friends and family‚ at least to the ones who miss you! 

4. Get Your Sunshine In 

Remember the benefits of sunshine? So go outside and enjoy a Bible scavenger hunt in the backyard. Go on a nature hunt and discuss together life lessons you learn in springtime from birds and bees, shrubs and trees, hills and valleys, mountains and seas: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1). 

5. Play Inventively 

The game of Bible Charades is a wonderful example of inventive Sabbath play. It’s one of your very best family-oriented options for long and beautiful Sabbath afternoons. That’s because there’s usually a part for everyone in the house and laughs for everybody in the house, whether it’s your turn to mime, or your turn to guess who or what; your turn to pretend to be whoever you want to be, or your turn to decide who the actor is—or deliriously better still, who the actors are: in general, a group can do more complicated mimes than an individual, and errors can end up being more outrageously amusing when the mime involves multiple characters. Laugh at your caricatures and your blunders together, but the goal is not to be silly: it’s to think, laugh, and learn together worthwhile lessons that will enlighten you spiritually and be part of your growth in godliness—lessons you’ll remember for a lifetime.

6. Play Christian Games

Tons of Christian games are available to play with your family. Playing together and sharing together will strengthen your relationship with each other and with Christ.

7. Pray and Watch

Once again, our last word is “Pray,” but this time there’s something added: “Watch.” People are binge watching right now. Many are focused on Adventist Review television, Hope Channel, 3ABN, and others. But there’s more to watching than television. There’s Jesus’ words about watching, words He spoke at the time of His greatest crisis and greatest agony in Gethsemane, when the weight of the universe threatened to break His will, His shoulders, and His eternal union with the Father and the Spirit. “Watch and pray” is what He told His disciples that night, a night of their crisis too, although they didn’t know it and were unprepared for it. He needed them to watch and pray, pray and watch with Him. It would deliver them from temptation; it would bring them through the ultimate crisis of their lives. And it will bring us through too—watching and praying while we’re at home with Jesus.