I recently read about a Christian family who begins each day with the following prayer. “Today I will pay attention, see Jesus, be Jesus, and mess up.” I was immediately intrigued. It’s so human and so spiritually real.
They follow that refrain with the Lord’s Prayer. Then the kids head off to school, and the parents do whatever it is that parents do these days. What happens when everyone gets back home is the key to their family life together.
At the end of the day, they gather around the evening dinner table. The conversation surrounding their daily meal is focused on the prayer that opened their day. They grapple with the events of their individual lives in this family setting.
“They discuss how they messed up.”
They speak about the things to which they paid attention that day. They talk about how they saw Jesus during the day as well as how they were Jesus to someone else. And, yes, they discuss how they messed up. What a great way to raise children! I wish I’d thought of it first.
During their mealtime conversations, they deal with their attitudes and how they can choose to improve them. They speak of looking for opportunities to spend their time in meaningful ways. They also talk about ways they can help each other as a family unit to achieve their goal of a fulfilled life together and separately.
This is a wonderful practice on many levels. For one thing, it brings Jesus into the center of each of their lives. He is not merely someone they speak of on Sunday morning; he is an integral part of their daily life as a family.
For too many of us, Jesus is an add-on. He’s given an assent during a prayer prior to family meals (maybe). He’s used as a threat when the kids misbehave. He’s seldom seen as a guide through life.
A lot of us internalize the things of Christ and live them out on an individual basis. But having these things lived out and ingrained in a child as he or she grows is immeasurable. It not only encapsulates their faith, it confirms and supports it as they develop into mature disciples of Jesus.
“They fully admit they’re human…”
I guess what really jumped out at me, though, was the messing up part. In their morning prayer, they flat out state that they would “mess up” during the day. They fully admit they’re human and fall short of the glory of God. It doesn’t end there, however.
They take the time to wrestle with weaknesses in their lives and choose (as a family) to be honest and ultimately do something about it. To top it all off, they’re not left on their own to tackle these life situations. They have the love and support of their family members to enable them to accept their humanity and still grow in the faith.
Today, I want to see Jesus, be Jesus, and mess up with you. It’s the church at its best.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]