Photo by KBJ
When our children make mistakes, especially after repeated warnings, it can tap the deepest reserves of our patience. And if we blow, we run the risk of turning judgment on the child rather than the behavior. In the Golden Calf story in this week’s readings, God almost lost it, and would have, if not for Moses’ intervention on behalf of his Great Family.
To me, the other readings for Sunday are about gratitude and worthiness. Psalm 23 is probably the most well-known of all of the 150 psalms in the Bible. It’s often read when people are going through something hard or sad, like when someone dies. When I read it together with all of the rest of the readings, it sounded like a thank you note to God.
We talk a lot about gifts and gratitude with children. We say things like, “We are blessed because…” and “There but for the grace of God go I.” What do we mean by that? What do children hear? Are we saying, “Thank God I’m better off than…”? Or “Thank God I have better stuff than…”? When we consider what we value — what is truly attributed to God’s grace — it isn’t measurable or comparable to any other. Perhaps a grateful heart is “the house of the Lord.”
Interim Program Manager, Children & Families
This Sunday at 10am, we’ll gather for an opening assembly and then children can choose from two breakout groups. If you haven’t already, please register to join.
Preschool through 5th grade, 30 minutes
We’ll tell the story of The Great Family and then make people of God figures for storytelling at home. Materials suggestions: clay, pipe cleaners, wooden spools, Legos.
Whole People of God
2nd through 5th grade, 30–45 minutes
What are we truly grateful for? What do we truly value? For our activity, we’ll write thank you notes.
Family Worship: Home Edition is published every Thursday for you and your family to follow together at home anytime.
The Discovery adult formation discussion continues this week, unpacking the challenge to see the dignity in our detractors (as modeled by our guest speaker Dylan Marron). If you missed the presentation, you can catch up with this audio recording.
To prepare for this Sunday’s discussion, we invite you to “take the challenge home” with the guidance in this New York Times article about managing your family political divides with grace.
Coming into stillness and offer a simple prayer of gratitude to begin your journaling practice.
- Read Psalm 23 with an eye towards noticing elements of the relationship between a shepherd and their flock (e.g., a shepherd leads the tired flock to grass and water, is watchful, fights off predators, etc.). Make a list.
- Read Psalm 23 again, with an eye toward noticing elements that describe the relationship between God and a devout believer (e.g., spiritual sustenance, ethical guidance, companionship in difficult times, etc.). Make a list.
- Re-read Psalm 23 and consider any the following:
- What does it mean to you to dwell in God’s house?
- What do you make of the psalmist’s shift from “he” to “You” in verse 4?
- How do you interpret the assertion of lacking nothing, given the realities of trouble in daily life and in the world?
- If divine acts are brought about in the world by real people, how are you the face of God for someone else?