We all know that prophet Moses was this powerful figure who led Israelites through the desert towards the promised Land in the Old Testament times. Moses was characterized by prayerfulness, humbleness, and above all, sacrifice for his people. While Israelites wandered through the desert, they made God mad many times but it was Moses who stopped the anger and many times turned it into the blessing for everyone. Every Christian household needs Moses; someone who will sacrifice himself for the benefit of everyone.
When I got married, my spiritual father said to me that our house will need a Moses. Initially, both my wife and myself were Moses but when our first child came, the idea that both of us will be Moses became impossible. The child was attached to her mother and we could not live the Orthodox ideal. Reading long prayer rules together and talking about Orthodoxy in a focused manner while having dinner with our child (now two children) was not feasible. It became clear to me what my spiritual father was referring to. Every house needs a leader, someone who will pray while the other individual sacrifices herself/himself to take care of the kids or household chores.
In practice, this can take various different forms. For instance, at our Church we have Bible study every Wednesday night. The couples could agree that someone will come to Bible study while the other individual takes care of the kids. If we are not making sacrifices to get out of our personal “deserts” we will remain stuck in the desert and never see the promised land. Many couples and families believe that somehow their relationship with God and their children’s relationship with God will be taken care of. However, there is nothing magical about this! You do not wake up one day and suddenly you feel and have a relationship with God like never before.
Another form of having a “Moses” in the house can be related to family’s prayer life.
With our kids, before we go to bed, we may have a short prayer rule. Something that can keep our children engaged and not tire them out. However, for Christians that are experienced and have spent many years in the Church, this is simply not enough! We as parents must make sure that we add more prayers in addition to our 3–5-minute prayer rule with our kids. One individual from the couple would wake up earlier than the rest of the family and will read additional prayers. In addition to Jesus prayer and regular prayer rule, families may decide that on certain days someone will read akathist to their patron Saint. If this prayer rule or additional prayers take place in the morning, the Moses of the family would do that while the other person will take care of the kids if they wake up, open the door if someone rings the bell, pick up a package that was dropped on the porch.
It is very important to note that the role of Moses within the family in mixed marriages will fall down on the individual who is Orthodox. It is assumed that as Orthodox Christians we know more than our spouses who may not be Orthodox. In those instances, it is essential that we lead the way and not be lukewarm about our faith. We want everyone to come to the fullness of truth and that can only happen if the Orthodox side within marriage becomes the Moses for the other side and burns with zeal for the Lord.
There are many other examples that we can give on how having a Moses in the house
works. The bottom line is that someone has to sacrifice for the sake of the whole family and bring blessing to it. Although one person may be invoking the blessing but the blessing will fall down on the whole family and every member. Our Church and many other Churches offer tools of salvation and ways to come closer to God….it is up to every individual to accept the call of the Church.
“One must force himself to Prayer when he has not Spiritual Prayer; and thus God, beholding him thus striving and compelling himself by force, in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true Prayer of the Spirit.”
Saint Macarius the Great