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Home Altars

Dearest church,

It’s been five months since we’ve worshipped together in our sanctuary, longer than any of us imagined back in March. While we’re taking steps toward returning to in-person worship, it will be some time until our full congregation is able to worship in the same space, and more time yet until every person feels safe coming to the sanctuary for worship. Faced with this reality, we want to equip everyone in our congregation for meaningful worship at home. To start, we’ll talk about hymnals and home altars.

Hymnals

The cranberry book we use in Sunday worship is called Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Published by Augsburg Fortress in 2006, this is a rich resource not only for Sunday services but for everyday life as a disciple of Jesus. It includes a list of the scripture passages for each Sunday and additional passages for each day of the week; the words, prayers, and hymns we sing and speak on Sundays; morning, evening, and night prayer for use at home or in larger groups; and even Martin Luther’s small catechism!

As we continue to worship at home, hymnals can enrich our faith lives seven days a week. If you would like to borrow one, please contact Pastor Emily. We will sanitize a hymnal and set it aside for you to pick up or have delivered. If you’d like to order a new one or receive a new hymnal to keep, please contact Mark Melhorn.

Home Altars

Worship is not only something we do on Sunday mornings. It’s part of the fabric of daily life. One way many people help focus their worship throughout the week is by making a home altar. Particularly when we don’t have access to our sanctuary, home altars can help us center our prayer life and focus on God. There are many ways to make a home altar. You might set aside a table, shelf, a corner of a room, or simply collect a few items to set up whenever you need them. You don’t need to special items for an altar. Feel free to use candles you have at home, a bible you already have, a cloth from your linen closet! Here are two things to consider as you set up a place to pray at home.

  1. Location: Choose a place to set up your altar that is safe for you or your family’s use. If you want it accessible to children, set it up at that height! If you’re using wax candles, make sure they’re in a place that minimizes fire hazards (avoiding curtains or hangings, etc)
  1. Items to use: You might consider a cross, images from scripture or icons, candles, plants and flowers, water, a Bible, and/or an altar cloth. If you’d like a battery operated candle for any reason, please contact the church office.

As one example, here’s a picture of my office altar. It includes a green cloth for the Season after Pentecost, a cross, a Bible, a quote from scripture, a candle, and an essential oil diffuser (which substitutes for incense in my space). Share pictures of your home altar! We’d all love to see how you are centering yourself for everyday worship and prayer.

God’s peace be with you,
Pastor Emily