Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” 27 then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”’ Then the people bowed down and worshipped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
The family is a basic unit of Christian discipleship, a fundamental arena for spiritual formation. When you think about it, the early church community was composed of a number of households. Long before the existence of Sunday schools (for which many of us are profoundly grateful) the faith (both Jewish, and then Christian) was passed on in homes. Spiritual training/education was not outsourced to others. Others may well have been involved, but parents understood and carried out their God-given responsibilities.
- The home as a place of worship: We have already seen that they celebrated Passover as families. All-age Christian education began in the home;
- The home as a place of godly example: I remember one well-known preacher describing the huge impact of knowing his father spent 30 minutes on his knees every morning, before heading out of the door for work. Children saw their parents at worship in the Passover, and also participated in it themselves;
- The home as a place of explanation and teaching. Children inevitably ask questions. They see and sense what is important to you, and they’re going to want to know why the gospel, for example, is so important in your eyes.
As I look back on my childhood, I do so with gratitude for a number of Sunday schools and Sunday school teachers. Similarly, I am thankful for various youth clubs and youth leaders. But I learned the priority of Christ and Christianity; of church commitment, and related things such as service, giving and hospitality, from two loving, if imperfect people whose memories I honour – my mum and dad. They were not flawless, but I could almost smell their dedication.
Their dedication was the backbone of my education in the things of God.