Cultural Connection: The Home Altar

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director

I’ve had so many people to pray for this year that lighting one candle didn’t feel like enough, so I started a new ritual – our family prayer candles.

Singing Every Table Is an Altar at worship, then having my grandchildren for lunch and lighting the candles with them brought it home: we have a home altar, and it is the table we gather around.

What’s on your table right now? Who is invited to sit there?

Every table has the capacity to be an expression of our faith. One of the oldest traditions around: A home altar.

Our Latinx friends are way ahead of me on this ritual. The sacred liturgy surrounding the Day of the Dead is the peak of this experience. The table becomes a celebration of our dear family and friends who have gone home.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the rituals of our daily lives. Habits are the most compelling way to lead yourself. Leading ourselves comes before leading others. We know this in our heads, but what about the space around us?

Our space influences us more than we realize.

I’m ready to make space on the table downstairs and on a shelf in my study to call me to worship.
To prayer.
To remember you and all those I love.

This is more than hanging a cross on the wall. It is about creating space in my crowded head for reflection.

I’m not waiting for the “new year” to experiment with new faith practices. Life has been too hard, too full, too … too much. I want to enjoy the next few months by starting now.

Want to join me?

If now is too soon for you, start planning for Advent. Reclaiming this season as a faith pilgrimage rather than a crunch time feels important to me. Our new Advent Resources are free for you and anyone you share them with. Thanks for caring and sharing these.

Something to ponder: If you turn your table into an altar, are you turning your home into a church?

3 replies
  1. says:

    This is beautiful! The kitchen table has always been a sacred place for me. I love the question at the end about our tables being altars and our homes being churches. With my husband and I both serving in different churches, we don’t get time to worship together. The time spent around the table, or on the living room floor around a pizza, have become holy places for me. Lately, that chance to check in with the kids, relax, and just be together is worship for me.

    I also know that I need to be more intentional in my time with God. I’m going to work on making a sacred space near the chair where I sit every morning, maybe just adding a candle to remind me to take the time to pray and listen.

    Thank you for this.

  2. Cheryl Gorvie
    Cheryl Gorvie says:

    Putting children around an open flame forces an adult to PAY ATTENTION! What a rich reminder that in the glow of that flame, we may also open ourselves to paying attention to the holy moments that God reveals around the table. Thank you for the wisdom in this invitation, Peggy!


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