Making our castle part of God’s kingdom

Even the laundry room is God's

Photo by cdsessums, Flickr.

G.K. Chesterton said that a person’s house is the one place in the world where they can still be unruly and do whatever they please.

A homeowner “can put the carpet on the ceiling and the slates on the floor if he wants to,” said Chesterton, and barring modern contrivances like neighborhood covenants and restrictions, that’s still about right.

In the streets, there are the police. At work, there is the boss. But at home, there is just you. Don’t forget the connection between the words domestic and domain. At home you are the lord.

So what are you going to do with all that power?

In the biblical vision, every Christian has a priestly role. God says as much in the Old Testament and repeats the sentiment in the New. Our whole lives, public and domestic, are in this sense sacramental, and we offer them up to God for his use and glory.

“Every family is … a kingdom,” says Alexander Schmemann, “and therefore a sacrament of and a way to the Kingdom.”

I thought about that line after our house-blessing this year. Following Epiphany, as it happens all over the world, our priest goes through the parish and blesses homes. There is a rich theology behind the practice that a short piece like this can barely address, but as Fr. Stephen told us, it has to do with God’s blessing on our person and possessions as a family and our dedication of our person and possessions to God.

It’s priestly: We acknowledge everything that God has given us, and we offer it back to God. A house-blessing answers the question raised by Chesterton’s assertion. We take the lordship we have over our possessions and we surrender it to God for his use and glory.

In a house-blessing, the family processes through the entire home with the priest as he blesses and prays over each room—not just the main areas, the bedrooms, living room, etc., but the little ones as well. We offer even the laundry room and the bathrooms to God. The garage and automobiles, too. All is God’s, and all is for God.

Our little kingdoms, says Schmemann, “can be something like the true Kingdom.” Our priestly calling is to take the dominion that God has granted, even in the smallest and humblest of places, and turn it him.

As a priestly people, we use God’s gifts as a means of communion and growing in relationship with him.

About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.

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  • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

    Wow. This is good to hear, but a bit painful. Time for some self-examination. Thank you.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      Ditto on self-examination. I wonder how many corners in my life I’ve not yet offered.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    This post gave me chills. Seriously. Beautiful theology!

  • http://ichrch.com Rich Langton

    Thanks for the post. I love the Idea of regularly acknowledging that everything we have, all we are blessed to own is from God. And, to commit it back to Him in the home with a sense of reverence is so inspiring!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Rich. I’m grateful for a church with so many rich and helpful traditions. It really helps keep me and my family on track.

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  • http://twitter.com/MegHMiller Megan Hyatt Miller

    Great post.

    • http://www.joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      Thanks!

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Congratulations on getting Disqus installed. I think you will like it!

    • http://www.joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      Hope so. It wasn’t too complicated to set up. Just took a bit of time. But I already love the functionality; I am commenting right now from my Disqus phone app.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      Well, I ended up unplugging it for the time being. It was causing my page to display poorly on cell phones and was loading slowly. I’ll have to spend some more time with it to see if it’s worth it.


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