Dining Room Sanctuary

By Valerie Matyas

This weekend we embark on Round 2 of social distancing at home worship. I will admit, last Sunday was rough.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for Live Streaming capabilities. I am blessed to have the Word of God preached to me during a time when I cannot gather with my visible church family. But this home worship business is tough for a pastor’s wife of four kids.

As a mothering achievement, I had finally reached the coveted, highly-sought-after normalcy and expectation of “We are in God’s House, I expect you to behave” behavior for which all moms of young children aim. Being out of the building, away from the pew, it is maddeningly difficult to convince a 5-, 7-, 8-, and 10-year-old that the dining room table is now a place to be still and listen to dad. They don’t always listen to him when he’s in the house, let alone on a screen.

I wasn’t mentally prepared for the challenge.

My expectations were unrealistic. I lost my temper, I lost my patience, I lost a bit of my where-with-all. So this week, in between triage home-schooling, normal chores, meals, and video chatting with relatives, we added a bit of color to our dining room window to remind us (all 6 of us) that church is not a building, it is a people, and we are the people of God.

Using washi tape and inexpensive watercolor paint, our 10-, 8-, and 7-year-olds helped to transform a normal window into a makeshift stained glass window. It shines brightest at sunset, reminding us all that tomorrow is a new day.

And although tomorrow may be filled with unknowns, we can be certain that God’s love remains steadfast (Psalm 136:1), it is a day in which we can rejoice (Psalm 118:24), and a day filled with our Heavenly Father’s mercies awaiting new for us (Lamentations 3:23).

I long to return to my extended church family. I want to sit in our “family pew” and greet our familiar “pew neighbors.” I want to join my voice in a song with hundreds of believers. I want to be united in prayer, scripture, and the preached Word. I eagerly anticipate seeing, visiting, meeting, and laughing with them again. Lord willing, soon.

But while I wait, I can’t help but realize my longing is a tangible anticipation that echoes the yearning I have for the New Creation, the meeting of the saints triumphant, and the joys of the kingdom to come. My longing to worship in my local church is but a small taste of my longing to worship in perfect unity with my Redeemer.

So this Sunday, when we are once again attending church in our dining room, I will come prepared with a thankful heart, a pocketful full of patience, and a joy that can not be shaken. 


  1. Blessings on you! You articulated well the tension between being thankful for live streaming and desiring to physically be present in church. Thanks for being real about the struggles, and sharing how we can tangibly show that we are the church!

  2. Such a needed message for our families to hear who are worshiping in the home. Thanks, Valerie for sharing so honestly!

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