O Lord, may church and home combine
to teach thy perfect way,
with gentleness and love like thine,
that none shall ever stray.
May steadfast faith and earnest prayer
keep sacred vows secure;
build thou a hallowed dwelling where
true joy and peace endure.
“O Lord, May Church and Home Combine”, vss. 1 & 4 (UMH 695)
Throughout this season of COVID-tide, so much in our lives has shifted location. So much in our lives has shifted to “home”.Throughout this season of COVID-tide, so much in our lives has shifted location. So much in our lives has shifted to “home”.
We used to go to work… but now, for many, work takes place at home.
We used to go to school… but now, for many, school takes place — at least in part — at home.
We used to go to the grocery store… but now, for many, the groceries are delivered to our homes.
We used to go out for dinner… but now, for many, we bring takeout back to our homes.
We used to go to church… but now, for so many, church takes place at home.
And by “church,” I’m not just talking about Sunday morning worship. I’m talking about Zoom Sunday School classes. Online book and Bible studies. Virtual church meetings. Virtual youth group. Remote music rehearsals. We used to do all of these things as the church, at the church… but now, we do so many of these things as the church, from our homes.
I’m proud of how you’ve rallied, church. How you’ve adapted in this season of COVID-tide. How you’ve tried new things and mastered new ways to connect. How you’ve made “church” happen even at a distance, even from home.
Yet I also know that you’ve grieved. I have, too. I’ve longed for the times when we could be together, grieved the times that COVID has forced us to stay home.
Yet even in the midst of that grief, I’ve pulled out this year’s Christmas decorations. In addition to the evergreen garland, the holiday snowglobes, and the Christmas tree ornaments, our family Christmas decorations include no less than a dozen different nativity scenes. I’ve placed them in every room. There’s a little ceramic Baby Jesus perched on every flat surface that’ll stand still long enough. I love nativity scenes.
I’m mindful that nativity scenes have always been an at-home kind of tradition. Sure, we have a few beautiful ones at the church, and a breathtaking one on the church’s front lawn. Yet for the most part, nativity scenes have always been “at home” at home. In this endless season of COVID-tide, when so many of the things happening at home seem out of place, there’s something comforting about a tradition that has always had its place at home.
That’s why I was so happy to see all the pictures of nativity scenes sent in by so many of you. We’ve compiled them into a collage, included here in this devotional. I hope it brings you comfort and joy.
More than that… in this season when it may feel like everything in the rest of your life is colliding with your home life, I hope it reminds you that church and home don’t collide. Church and home have always belonged together. As the hymn tells us, church and home combine.
Remember that, friends, and remember this as well:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
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- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/