April 26: Family faith formation at home

"The Way to Emmaus" by Swiss painter Robert Zünd


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.

“The Way to Emmaus” by Swiss painter Robert Zünd

Connecting with Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

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 picture in their mind the expressions on the disciples’ faces at each point on the journey. After the Scripture is read, ask each person to describe the expressions they imagined and why.

Connecting through story

Watch this clip from the movie “Hook.”

  • Why were the children unsure it was Peter Pan?
  • Why did they touch his face?
  • Why were they willing to follow Peter Pan?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • What were the hopes of the two disciples walking to Emmaus?
  • Why do you think those were their hopes?
  • What were the two things Jesus did with the men during their journey?
  • Why do you think their hearts were warmed when they heard Jesus sharing Scripture?
  • Why was it that only when Jesus was at the table with them, took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them did the disciples recognize him?
  • If Jesus were to come back today, what would he need to do or say for you to know it was really him?
  • Where are some places that Jesus would show up today?
  • How can you recognize him, or his work, in those places even today?
  • Who would you go tell if you encountered the risen Lord today?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • It is the risen Lord that shows up on the walk to Emmaus with the two disciples.
  • They begin to get a hint or a feeling that this person is special as he begins to interpret Scripture with them.
  • It is not until he shares a meal with them, in the same manner he shared his last supper with the disciples, that their eyes are opened and they recognize him.
  • Notice the way the words are shaped in this text — they do not open their own eyes, but rather their eyes were opened. This reflects the power of God to cause our eyes to be opened and for Christ to be made known to us.
  • Once they encountered the risen Lord, they went out and shared their experience with others with awe and excitement.
  • In the Reformed Presbyterian understanding of Communion, we encounter the risen Lord each time we come to the Lord’s Table. 


Divide a large sheet of paper into two columns. At the top of the first column, write “Where we would see Jesus today” and at the top of the second column, write “How we would respond if we encountered the living Lord there.” Brainstorm together writing your ideas in each column and discuss together the “whys” of each item. 


Close your time together by praying 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.