Families Are The Foundation Of The Christian Faith
The outbreak of Corona and the challenges that ensued especially in matters of faith, revealed that families continue to be the most important pillars in the Christian life. With all houses of worship locked down, and with faith leaders only able to do as much under the circumstances, the challenge of leading matters of faith fell on the parents. The fathers and mothers had the responsibility of passing on and fostering the Christian faith in their families.
At its very core, Christianity was founded on love and sacrifice as Jesus Christ so well demonstrated. Parents are called upon to make similar sacrifices for their spouses and for their children. It is in the family that children learn about love, forgiveness, patience, and companionship. Parents need to be intentional about teaching their children these values through setting a good example and spending time with their children especially during this time when houses of worship are closed. 1 Timothy 5:8 so ably put it that “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
As Christians we ought to believe that children and the family are a gift from God; and that as parents we have great responsibilities towards our own families such as caring for them properly, teaching them how to live and to accept authority, teaching them about God, and taking them to be baptized and promising to bring them up in a loving home.
In this manner every child born to a family is a gift not only to his or her parents and siblings but also to the entire community into which he or she is born. The family is the temple dedicated to the Lord. The family is naturally ordered to serve what John Paul II called the Gospel of life in The Evangelium Vitae. Every birth ought to declare: Life is Good News!
We are all familiar with Paul’s call to parents in Ephesians to bring up their children in the “training and admonition of the Lord” (6:4), but the responsibility that parents have in passing on the faith is not something that began with Paul. We have to go back to the very beginning of the Bible where we find God commanding the nation of Israel to share the faith with their children. “Word which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). I love that word “diligently,” don’t you? It implies constant communication between parents and children. God could have stopped there, but He didn’t want to cast any doubt on what He meant by “diligent,” so He specifically broke it down further by adding the different areas where His word needed to be taught, “When you sit in your house, when you walk along the road, when you lie down; and when you rise up. Morning, noon, and night prayers are to teach their children God’s word.” In other words, children need to be taught about the ways of God in every sphere of their lives.
If we want to raise faithful families and grow future leaders, we must start in the homes. It can’t be left to the Church leaders!
Writer is a Seminarian at Katigondo National Seminary, Uganda