“After all, a family car is not just a car. It is a whole culture… The car (is) much like a living room with large windows on street level or the front yard.” (The Guardian, November 22, 2013)
Only a few years ago my wife was picking up my eldest son from kindergarten. He climbed in his car seat, snapped the buckle into place, and they drove off. Before they were out of sight of the school, my son said to his mom, “Mom, I’m ready.”
Jenny wondered what this meant and asked him, “Ready for what, sweetheart?”
“Ready to receive Jesus.”
And that’s when it happened. In the ordinary miracle of a mundane Monday, my son’s eternal destination was cemented. Sitting in the same car seat in the same car where we’d shared family road trips, sang songs, talked about the Lord, His creation, His care, His Son Jesus – that’s where my son decided to follow the Master. By providence, it happened somewhat similarly with his younger brother. Praise God.
I believe the Lord used those “as we go” conversations spurred on and supported by his school and church curriculum. These happen in our car through conversations about Genesis creation, about why we celebrate Christmas and Easter, singing the Apostle’s Creed (over and over – it's Track 7 if you’re us), talking about what we see out the window in God’s great big world. This is our shot at making discples as we go.
It’s an intentionality that two parents have asked for and seen the Lord bless with salvation in our own sons. It is the possibility of an “as you go” model for our education and spiritual formation of our children.
It’s made me consider how much time we truly spend in transit, moving from one place to another in a vehicle. In my fiction writing courses, I was taught to never show your characters traveling. That is, if they have to take a plane, train, or automobile, just say they did it and move to the next scene because “travel is boring, there’s no adventure in it.”
I’ve come to learn that, while that rule can apply well to fiction, real life under the Lord Jesus is decidedly different. Many times, as we found out those mornings driving to or away from school, the trip is the true adventure.
Car rides are fascinating microcosms for conversations that affect and reinforce our (now) shared faith story as a family. We don’t have it if we don’t turn down the volume or disconnect the DVD player in the back seat. Use the sacred space of a car ride to explore and deepen your family story with the people who matter most. Use the car ride to do you assignment: to invest in your children’s eternity.