Tuesday afternoon Teatime Theology continues to be a weekly tradition that we all look forward to. Bags are dumped at the door at the first sight of the teapot, as shoes are removed and excited voices run to gather around the table. This table has been the hub of so many of the precious memories in our home... a place of gathering and connection, of reconciliation and fellowship, of learning and teaching and discipling. Through the homeschool season, so much of our lives were centred around that table that our teatime tradition was dropped for a while, but with the return to school and a semblance of normality, our Tuesday afternoon tradition has resumed.
We have gone down many different routes over the past few years, from beginners Bible Doctrine, to delving into specific Biblical characters, to learning about some amazing Christians in history, to themes and topics like the Biblical Feasts. We approach daily bible reading with our kids book by book, reading through the Bible in its context, and so weekly Teatime Theology has enabled us to look at the themes of the Bible more systematically and really thrash out some of their questions. It's led to some really great, thought-provoking discussions and has given the kids room to explore questions in a safe space.
For the past few weeks we have been delving into the history of the reformation... understanding the course of events that threw Europe into such a radical and fast transformation in the 16th century, the ripple effects of which we still feel now. My history teachers taught me it was simple. Henry the VIII wanted his own way and so threw out the Catholic Church and set up his own. But that is so insanely over-simplified, and really was only the event that opened the floodgates for all that already had been brewing on mainland Europe to finally explode into reality in England.
Learning about imperfect humans, and complex historical narratives has brought us back time and time again to the simple truths - God is good, and so brilliantly sovereign that he can manoeuvre individuals, Kings, governments and powers to fall into his perfect plans.
It's also given us a new appreciation for the preciousness of our Bibles, and how much it cost people to get it into our hands.
Usually our gathered time consists of reading a short chunk of a book, accompanied by tea and cake, and then some kind of creative activity. The week photographed, we were learning all about Erasmus who produced a translation of the original greek Bible in 1516, and began the process of getting the Bible into the hands of everyday people, not just the religious powers. It was bold, and brave, and combined with the invention of the printing press, led to people all over Europe being able to access and understand the Bible for themselves for the first time.
As people read the words of Jesus for themselves, religious rituals were replaced by real relationship with a God who had seemed so distant... it was truly revolutionary, in every sense of the word...
The most precious thing about this time is the understanding that happens by osmosis. Sometimes you wonder if things are really going in... sometimes you wonder if the connections are being made. I'm being reminded that truths settling and spiritual "sight" are a work of the Spirit, and cannot by created no matter how engaging the activity! But then one of them will say something later in the day, or make an observation a few days later, or speak gospel truth over you the following week, and you realise it is going in, it is worth it. And actually, our call is simply to faithfulness, to "teaching our children in the way they should go" (Deuteronomy 6). The rest is in the Lord's hands!
The gift this little tradition has been to our family cannot be over-estimated. I am forever grateful I stumbled across the concept a few years back! Intentionally teaching our children the truths of the gospel, the cost of their heritage is so important as they are bombarded by so many other messages throughout the day.