The Rallying Cry for Generations To Come

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”–Deuteronomy 6:4-9

This verse in Jewish culture is at the heart of Jewish faith and is known as the great Shema. Like the Lord’s Prayer is familiar to Christians, the shema is just as familiar to Jews. A Jewish custom is to take this passage, write it on parchment paper and encase it in the mezuzot; the small boxes on the doorposts of Jewish homes and tefillin: the small boxes worn on the forehead and arms of Jewish people during Jewish morning prayer services. In Jewish culture, this verse is literally being written on the doorposts of their houses and on their gates as well as on their foreheads and their arms.

We don’t walk around with this passage written on our foreheads and our arms. Yet I wonder what the world would look like; what faith would look like if we did. Yesterday one of my colleagues preached his Confirmation sermon about faith and how we aren’t afraid to share our opinions about politics, etc on our Facebook pages. But when it comes to faith, we have a harder time sharing that on our Facebook pages. Why is that anyways?

I have been thinking a lot about the language of faith and today’s youth/young adults. These words from the great Shema are words that I pray more of us live out in our daily lives. They are words that I pray more families and homes will cling to and realize how true they are. The front doors of the church aren’t the actual front doors we walk in and out of to go to church, but are the doors of our homes. Faith begins in the home. Think about the people who have passed on faith and values to you. Who are they? They are, more than likely, parents, family members, and other caring adults who have been there with and for you as you walk and continue to walk along this lifelong journey of faith.

Too often (or rather more often than we care to admit) it seems that we forget the words that we hear in the great Shema. I will be honest. In the congregations I have served, it has been so very hard to watch youth affirm their Baptismal promises, but then to never see them again. (And I am pretty sure this isn’t uncommon; that many of us have experienced this in one way or another) What are we missing? How can we set the bar higher for families? It is my prayer that together we can be allies. We cannot do the job for each other BUT we can support each other and be each other’s cheerleaders.

I don’t claim to have any of the answers, but I have seen the power of the great Shema lived out in congregations and families. I have seen divorced families sit together and learn together. I have seen lively inter-generational conversations take place. I have seen families carry out the baptismal promises they made for their child/children. And in return, I have seen children fully embrace those promises and affirm those promises for themselves at their own Confirmation.

I pray that these words from the Great Shema become our battle cry, our rallying cry for all the generations here and all the generations yet to come. “Write it on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” We might look rather silly walking around with those words encased on our foreheads. But in today’s technological age, there are many places for us to share our faith. Facebook is one of the virtual doorposts for us to share our faith. It seems to me that when faith becomes our everyday language and we aren’t afraid to share our faith, this world and the generations to come will be a much better place.

I don’t know about you but I want better for our youth and young adults. I want them to know what it means to live out the Great Shema in their daily lives and in their homes.

Will you join me in this rallying cry for all of us and for the generations to come?

Linking up with these lovely writers: Anita and Inspire Me Monday; Holly and Testimony Tuesday and Kelly and the RaRa Linkup.


Disclaimer: These are my thoughts and opinions. And are not necessarily the thoughts and opinions of the congregation and community of faith that I serve.

The Door to the Church

This weekend has been an awesome, refreshing, faith-filled weekend that has me thinking about a lot of things. Vibrant Faith Ministries talks about how home is church too! They are so right! I realized something this weekend in the course of our conversations. When my parents got divorced, it would have made such a difference in my life and my sister’s life if our parents came with us to Confirmation etc. The reality is that families are no longer 2.5 kids, a mom and a dad, and a cat or a dog. So how can we equip and help families to realize that home is church too. This morning we had wonderful people from Vibrant Faith Ministries with us in worship. I love what he said about how our doors are our front doors to the church. What would happen if all the homes in the world saw their front doors as the door to the church? Im not suggesting that it has to be complicated. In fact, it isnt at all. Talk to each other, engage in caring conversation, spend time being the church in the world, keep up with those riturals/traditions that are a part of your home and represent who and whose you are. My mom is one of the most faith-filled and faithful women that I know. Even though she lives with a mental illness, she has never let that get in the way of who and whose she is. She has been for me the embodiment of what faith and the church look like. For me, church truly did begin at home. And I think for many of us that is the case but I also think that sometimes we dont realize the impact we have on our children, grandchildren, etc. Praise be to God for my mom and other caring adults who I caught my faith from. This week may you take the time as a home to talk to each other, to pray together, or to do something missonal together.

I cant help but think of all the doors I encounter in a day. What if all those doors were a reminder that the front doors of the church arent at the church, but everywhere that we encounter Christ? At work? At play? in our cars etc?

I am reminded of the words found in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

(The thoughts and opinions represented in this post are entirely my own. However I truly do believe that the work and mission of Vibrant Faith Ministries is extremely important to the church today!)