(Psalm 86: 11-12)
We took long road trips during my childhood years. We drove every summer to Minnesota for an extended vacation with family and friends. These trips started in Omaha when we lived there, and then Chicago when we lived there. The trips became longer when we lived in the Boston area, taking several days. We stopped at museums and historic sites but there were still many long hours in the car. My siblings and I did all the road games, road bingo, checking off the states on license plates, I spy with my eye and many more. These road games have lasted into my adult years when I travel with my husband to different states. Last year when we were driving back from Tucson, Arizona I picked horse trailers as my item to spot. By the time we were driving through Utah the count was up over 100 and I stopped counting somewhere near Salt Lake City.
Travel and being on the road for long periods of time can be disorienting. I found comfort when I was young in bringing my favorite stuffed animals along. During my teen years I always brought books to read or board games to play with my siblings. In my adult life I always want to have my Kindle along and a few items from home. These items remind me of where I started my trip and where I will be going back to. We are on a road trip of sorts now living through the pandemic. It helps to have markers, items or rituals that orientate us. Symbols of our faith can remind us of who we are and whose we are.
We are learning more and more about how to set a space in our homes for worship; and creating special spaces for faith rituals and celebrations at home. I have found a few special items that help me set a space and a mood for faith building activities and conversations. I rotate these items in and out of the space depending on the church season and the season of the year. My congregation Hope Lutheran, Eagle recently distributed some home altar items to families to help them prepare for Children’s Church.
My thanks go to Casey Cross, Hope’s Young Disciples Director, for assembling these items and helping me in my understanding of setting a space. The items mentioned here could be used by anyone of any age to set a special space and can be adapted to different family’s preferences and tastes.
- A couple of votive candles and candle holders (battery operated candles are great for young children)
- A piece of cloth (could be a fabric remnant, a scarf, woven place mat) in the church season’s color
- A favorite devotional book or Bible or hymnal, or a blank journal or pieces of paper
- Some symbols or favorite items from the home, like seasonal decorations, toys and stuffed animals
- A family picture, something gathered from nature, or an item that opens up the senses like a sachet
- A cross or other symbol of faith, and items specific to your congregation and worshipping community
Lord of the journey, be with us wherever we worship you. Help us honor you with a special space as we gather in your name. May each of these items remind us of you and your loving presence. May the items be markers of beginnings and endings and new experiences and new relationships. May our minds be open to the many ways we can grow in our love for you and each other. AMEN.