Dining Room Sanctuary2 min read

Last weekend we embarked on Round 2 of social distancing at home worship. I will admit, the first 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 was 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 wherewithal. So last 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.

Photo courtesy of Valerie Matyas

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) and it will be a day in which we can rejoice (Psalm 118:24), 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 the next Sunday, when we once again attended church in our dining room, I came prepared with a thankful heart, a pocketful of patience, and a joy that cannot be shaken.

Photo by Sam Britton

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About the Author

Valerie Matyas is the Educational Development Consultant for Visual Faith Ministry. She lives in Bay City with her clerical wearing husband, Dennis, and their four children.

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Paul Herter - April 2, 2020

Thanks Valerie! I have shared your post all over!

Craig Britton - April 3, 2020


Your words, and the family that brought them to the page, blessed my heart. I love it when the Lord “introduces” me to family I didn’t realize were mine. Thank you, and God’s PEACE to your family and those new gatherings for church.

Lenore Lemanski - April 3, 2020

Thank you, Valerie. The virus has supplanted Lent, a time when we all come to terms with sacrifice and suffering, helping us to appreciate all the more what Jesus has done for us. Most of us had probably hoped to be back in church on Easter Sunday celebrating the joy of the Resurrection, and all that means for believers–but the Lord had other plans. He is breaking us out of our long-accepted mold and showing us the church really is alive, performing in ways we have not seen in our lifetime. (I’ll be 80 this year.)

Even Small churches with small budgets are doing outreach I might have thought impossible at the start of 2020. To God be the glory!

Lord, you have gotten our attention. May all the lessons we learn in this crisis move us in the direction of being a more faithful people, a people who knows what it means to BE the church. Amen.

Pat Maier - April 3, 2020

Shout out to you, my friend – such good & true words to share at a time like this!

CarolynBurns - April 4, 2020

God Bless and aid all you parents with your “isolationist “added duties and also your creative ideas!!!. This will be a learning and mind altering experience for all of us– even the children. God will use it for good.