On Grow Christians, I have had the opportunity to share my family’s story and my own journey first through divorce, then to long distance parenting, and now life in my beautiful, blended family. For my family – and probably yours! – summer is a crazy time. My oldest daughter lives with us for the summer, and it is a whirlwind of camps, Vacation Bible School, visiting extended family members, and overall relationship building while we have this lengthy, quality time together. This is also our chance as a family to worship, pray, and read the Bible together.
My daughter has prayed the same bedtime prayers for years, and we decided this year it was time for our two oldest, both girls, to learn something more mature. And so we have begun to bring them into the wonderful, beautiful Anglican tradition of Evensong. They are learning to sing canticles, pray the psalter, and the read the daily lectionary. The added bonus is that as emerging first and second graders this is an amazing opportunity for them to practice their reading skills!
During one of these times this summer, the idea came up of God speaking to us. My oldest daughter asked if God speaks to us with words, and said she has never heard Jesus speak to her, but would like to. The question came from a place of longing and wondering. Putting myself in her position, I can understand her possible doubts: if she has never heard God speak to her, why not? Is something wrong with her? Is something wrong with God?
There is no easy answer to her question. I struggle to answer this question to mature adults in my congregation, let alone to explain to the perspective of a seven year old. That evening I affirmed to her my belief that God does speak to us, and we can hear God speak to us with words aloud or in our hearts and minds.
But I also explained that much more often, God speaks to us in a myriad of other ways. That is why we pray Evening Prayer together, so that we can hear God speak in the Bible, in our readings from the saints, and in the voices of one another as we pray. We pray together so we can lift our own longings and yearnings to God, including the longing that God speak to us.
That night my oldest daughter asked to hear God speak. I’m not entirely sure she understands what it means to hear God speak through other people, through her family and loved ones, through the words of Scripture, and through our prayers. Though she may not hear Jesus speak to her this summer, yet even still I believe she will hear God speak to her through those things nonetheless. And I believe we will all hear and see Jesus through the beautiful and sacramental gift that is our family, imparting the grace of God’s presence to us through the visible and outward sign of our time together. May your family be blessed this summer as well.
[Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay]
How do the children in your life hear God speak?