Family vacations can be hectic, sometimes leaving people in need of another vacation when they get home. With multiple babies on our trip, going anywhere is a big deal and includes intensive preparation beforehand and extensive clean-up afterwards. Even getting out to church this weekend would have been a major ordeal, so we voted unanimously to have church at home.
A Saturday evening service timed to take place after our five little people were “put away” was the best option, and we began making plans for the service as soon as we arrived at Afterglow. Nelson rose to lead and assigned tasks to each of his siblings. No one deferred.
We shared a simple meal in preparation for our service, then between the spaghetti and the cake, moved to the living room for church. Adam opened the meeting with prayer, after which Katy and Klaus led us in singing, with Klaus accompanying on his guitar. Hans and Linnea took turns giving “a word,” Hans from Luke 19 and Linnea from 1 Thessalonians 5, and Lars and Louisa both read Scripture in conjunction with what was said. Nelson finished with a meaningful communion service using home-baked rolls and apple juice served by Louisa. Birgitta wrapped it all up with a benediction prayer.
With all of us gathered, I took the opportunity to talk about our revised family, dwelling on the completeness of it as it is now, as its been this week at Afterglow: minus Nate but plus three babies. It was difficult to say it out loud, and it didn’t happen without tears. But the truth of our new God-arranged family is the truth we are all in the process of trying to believe. We want to accept it, and as times passes, we will.
The fact is, our family will continue to change, as every family does. Losing Nate was not the last change that will be made. The thought of another subtraction is awful, and we hope it doesn’t happen any time soon, but the thought of additional family members coming along through marriage or children is lovely. Only God knows the details, and we are trusting fully in his plans for us.
As we bowed to pray in preparation for our communion service with the purpose of coming clean before the Lord, my mind filled with one thought: God is in our midst.
The ten of us sat in a circle during our simple home-church, talking about him, singing for him and praying to him. We weren’t focused on our group as much as on him. I believe he was with us in a dramatic way last night, receiving our praise, forgiving our sins and answering our requests. He has his hand on each of us as individuals and on our family as a unit. There is nothing to fear, and it’ll all work out OK.
But with him in our midst, it couldn’t turn out any other way.
“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)