April 19, 2020: Family faith formation at home


Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share 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: John 20:19-31

Read the Scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

Ask those gathered to close their eyes and listen to the Scripture read aloud again. Invite them to think about the questions this text raises for them. Once the Scripture has been read a second time, explore these questions: 

  • What questions did the text raise for you?
  • What possible answers come to mind?
  • Why do you think that particular question arose in your mind?

Connecting through story

Watch this clip from the movie “Patch Adams.” (If you have not seen the movie, it is well worth watching.)

  • Why was Patch Adams in trouble with the medical board?
  • What kind of doctor did Patch want to be?
  • Why was he resisting the way “medicine had always been practiced”?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • Where were the disciples at the beginning of the story? What were they doing? What were they feeling?
  • When the risen Jesus appeared to them, what was the first thing he said to them?
  • Why do you think he said, “Peace be with you”?
  • What was the very next thing Jesus did?
  • How is Thomas usually portrayed when we hear his story today?
  • How is what Jesus did when he first appeared to the disciples different than what Thomas asked for and that Jesus provided?
  • Why did the disciples need to see the physical wounds of Christ? Why did Thomas?
  • How might our understanding of Thomas change if we gave him the name “Tactile Thomas” rather than “Doubting Thomas”?
  • Why did Jesus give the disciples the Holy Spirit?
  • Why did he give them the commandment to forgive like he forgave?
  • Where are the places today where we see the wounds of Christ — places that bring pain and hurt to our Lord?
  • What happens when we show up in those places and bring healing or ease that pain?
  • What happens when we act like Jesus and live our discipleship in concrete ways?
  • What are ways we, even during this time of social distancing, act in ways that physically show others that we are followers of Jesus, disciples of Christ continuing his work?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus promises the disciples he will give them the Holy Spirit so he can continue his ministry after he is gone.
  • Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to the disciples by breathing on them.
  • Just as earlier in John when Jesus gave the disciples a new commandment (to love one another), the risen Lord gives his disciples the command to treat people like he treated them.
  • This story has often been read with the view that Thomas was wrong to doubt Jesus. Yet, Thomas was asking for the exact same thing that the other disciples were given: to see the wounds of Christ.
  • We know Christ is real and we know Christians are genuine when we see them living out their faith in concrete ways — when their hands are in the places where people are in need and Christ is in pain.

Go back and rewatch the movie clip. This time substitute the word/concept “disciple” for doctor and “discipleship” for the practice of medicine.

  • How was Patch acting like Jesus wants his disciples to act?

If time and interest allow, revisit the questions your family generated from the second reading of today’s Scripture to see how their questions and thoughts may have been answered or changed by further exploring the text today.


Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.