By Antonio G. Papa, Ph.D.
Denotatively, a home is one’s dwelling place or residence while connotatively, it is a place where to go for the needed shelter whenever unpleasant circumstances happen to the members of the family.
“Home sweet home” as they say, has been exemplified when I exhort “Travel south or north, the home brings me the best comfort.” And Robert Schumann added that “Travel east or west, a man’s home is still the best.”
Yes, when the environment at home is too favorable––most especially when Christian culture is always being felt––then it will become the most appropriate place as refuge whatever conditions in their life occur.
The home must be filled with love and unity that everyone would always want to go to after completing the day’s endeavors.
The institutionalization of the Family Hour by the Church Of Christ or Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) Administration is commendable.
The practice is being sponsored and implemented by the Church’s Christian Family Organizations. It is being carried out in every INC household for the purpose of:
1. Edifying each household in the Church of Christ by creating an opportunity for meaningful communication with one another, led by the father or the head of the household;
2. Encouraging families to conduct their household devotional prayers to God, so that every home can truly be a strong shelter for family members in times of trials and troubles;
3. Encouraging the children to open up and share their feelings, plans, and problems to their parents, instead of other people;
4. Helping the parents learn and practice effective and compassionate listening when their children confide in them, for them to be closer to one another;
5. Helping the parents learn and practice the proper way of teaching, counseling, and communicating with their children;
6. Helping families avoid aggravating the problems besetting them; and
7. Strengthening the unity and cooperation among family members, making them stronger and more steadfast in facing various challenges and problems in this life.
The Family Hour is being practiced once a week wherein the household will set a common time so that all the members of the family could attend and participate in the process.
The activity starts with an opening prayer rendered by the assigned member of the family. After the prayer, the head of the family will read the message for the week from the Church Administration as a source of spiritual nourishment and strength.
Then, the head of the family will ask each member if they have some concerns or problems that would need help from the other members of the family for resolution. It is a sort of an open forum––the process where interpersonal communication is achieved.
Likewise, the achievements for the week of each member are being reported and acknowledged.
Lastly, all the blessings that the family receives are being given back to God through the closing prayer, usually being done by the head of the family.
The end result of the activity is a very close family ties among the Church members.
In addition, the home has a very significant function during the imposition of lockdown or community quarantine due to the Covid–19 pandemic. Every INC household used their home for the twice a week worship services to God. Aside from home, the house of worship is another best place to go to for the inner peace of mind of family members. Here, everyone––both parents and children––could commune with the Almighty God and Lord Jesus Christ.
Since the Almighty Father declared that the house of worship is His abode, then spiritual nourishment and strength, through the help of the Holy Spirit, is obtained by regularly attending the twice a week worship services.
Others go to the house of worship anytime when they have their scheduled devotional prayer to God.