pulpit-line-drawingSamuel Clarkson wrote a book called The Church at Home: A Plea for Family Religion (available for free @ Google Books) circa 1860. I wrote a post called Do As I Say, Not As I Do a couple of days ago with a quote from the author of this book.

Clarkson has some great things to say about what he called “family religion” or what we would refer to as the spiritual formation of our families today.

Clarkson lays out a plea for wise interaction with the Sunday morning sermon at church:

It is the duty of Christian parents to take their children at an early age to the house of God, and to train them to take part intelligenty, earnestly, and sincerely in the worship; and if they wish them to profit by what they hear, they will do all they can to deepen the impressions made in the sanctuary.

They may do much in this direction by referring to what they have heard – by questions as to the subject of the preacher’s discourse – by explanations on some points which at the time might not be understood – and, more than all, by affectionate appeals to them at once to obey the truth.

Instead of acting thus, too many parents are in the habit either of criticising or censuring the preacher on their return home, in the presence of their children, or of wasting the time by talk on subjects as far away as conceivable from gospel doctrine and duty.

Every wise and holy parent, who sincerely desires the spiritual well-being of his children, will train them to receive the words of their minister as a message from God, to be attentively heard, candidly examined, seriously pondered, and honestly obeyed.

Instead of sitting in judgment in their presence on sermons and preachers, he will try to produce in them a conviction of their responsibility for the priceless privileges they enjoy; will not fail to remind them that they must give an account to Him for every sermon, precept, and appeal; and will urge them, by all motives of duty and delight, to yield themselves to their Maker and Redeemer.

So what about you… How do you engage with the Sunday morning sermon with your family afterwards? Earlier in the book, the author said that parents need to “second” at home what they learned at church so as to ingrain and instill the message of God into the very fabric of their lives.

Only that “second” from the parents can truly and in a relevant way, apply the truths of God’s Word and put them into action.