Family faith formation at home
Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy from Iona to begin your time of learning together.
Leader: In the beginning, when it was very dark, God said “Let there be light.
All: AND THERE WAS LIGHT.
(Light a candle.)
Leader: In the beginning, when it was very quiet, the Word was with God,
All: AND WHAT GOD WAS, THE WORD WAS.
(Place the Bible.)
Leader: When the time was right, God sent the Son,
All: HE CAME AMONG US, HE WAS ONE OF US.
(Place a cross.)
Leader: To remind us that we are God’s children.
All: THE GIFT OF BAPTISM,
(Place a bowl of water or a shell.)
Leader: To give us strength for our ministry,
All: THE MEAL OF THE DISCIPLES.
(Place a plate and cup or pitcher.)
God sightings and prayer offerings
Invite each person to share a where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something – a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer.
Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Connecting with Scripture Psalm 23
Ask those gathered to close their eyes and listen to the Scripture read aloud again.
- What do you see?
- What do you hear?
- What does this psalm make you think about?
- How does it make you feel?
Connecting through story
Watch this movie clip from the movie “Apollo 13” as it recounts an interview of astronaut Jim Lovell talking about being in crisis and finding a way home. (The clip is 3:18 minutes long but could be stopped after 1:45 minutes for this lesson.)
- When Jim Lovell and his crew on Apollo 13 were in the middle of a crisis, what did he begin to think about or remember?
- What strengthened his faith that he would return home?
Connecting with our lives
Engage in dialogue
- When we are afraid, what does the psalmist want us to remember?
- We are all afraid sometimes. What might be causing you to be afraid now?
- In whom are we to put our trust and why?
- In what ways is it easy to trust God?
- In what ways is it sometimes difficult to trust God?
- How do we know we can trust God to always be with us and lead us to calmer places?
Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion
- If we read Psalm 22 before Psalm 23, we see that the psalmist is afraid and is wondering where God is in the midst of his crisis.
- It is when the psalmist begins to remember the faithfulness of God throughout all the ages that the psalmist begins to calm down.
- Psalm 23 is a reminder to the writer, and us, that God is always with us and will always be with us even in the difficult and scary times.
Invite those gathered to either rewrite Psalm 23 in their own words and for their own circumstances, or have them draw a picture of how they envision the psalm for their own lives.
Use this clip as a part of your closing
This video depicts Psalm 23 in song and pictures. It was used at the 2013 Montreat Youth Conference. The illustrations are by artist Timothy Ladwig.
Close your time together by prayer for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.
REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.