Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
The early church grew through small groups and house churches. The Apostle Paul started many of these churches, leaving pastoral leadership in place as he traveled on to his next location. The church began to grow and become more formalized, however the Greek term ecclesiola, which means “little church”, was used. No matter how big the universal church would become, the leaders recognized the little church – the family – as a place for learning and growing in the faith.
At some point the term fell out of use but in recent years has been rediscovered, mostly through our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. The term used today is the Domestic Church, and it is the primary vehicle for growing in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.
Do any of you take lessons such as voice, dance or a musical instrument? If you only attend your one-hour lesson each week, will you become proficient? Of course not. Our daughter must practice her piano daily in order to grow as a pianist. The same goes with her voice. She cannot just attend her weekly lesson and not practice.
We must do the same with our faith. Sunday worship is of utmost importance. Attending worship (even online) is highly advisable as worship is where we come together to lift our concerns before a loving God, where we gather to give God thanks and praise, to corporately admit our sinfulness and receive God’s forgiveness. And even if we are doing online worship, it is still gathering with the church throughout time and space. If you are not participating in worship – in person or online – get on board. You need to do this.
And then you need to practice what you learned in that service throughout the week. Parents and heads of households – you have a special responsibility to teach your children. You can use the sermon as a starting point and live it through the week. Show examples to your children, show examples to your neighbors. Be the Domestic Church so that you can be the Body of Christ.