May 3: Family faith formation at home — Awe in the early church


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: Acts 2:42-47

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. Pick a word or phrase from the text that speaks to you.

Connecting through story

Watch this music video from the Zac Brown Band’s song “Family Table.”

  • What emotions did you see in the video?
  • Why do you think they were feeling that way?
  • What did the song and the video make you think about or feel?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • What is awe?
  • What causes you to feel awe?
  • When the text says, “and awe came upon them,” why do you thing they felt awe?
  • What was their response to their experience of God and the sense of awe that came from that experience?
  • Why do you think they made sure everyone had what they needed?
  • What do you think the table was like where everyone gathered around to break bread?
  • Why do you think they had “glad and generous hearts” and “goodwill of all people”?
  • Who was invited to the table celebration? How was there enough food and room for everyone if the Lord “added daily to their numbers”?
  • When your family gets together for special occasions and gathers around the table, what is it like? What feelings are present? What are your favorite parts of these celebrations around the table?
  • Why do you think so much of our Christian story and faith centers around tables?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion

  • This text follows the story of the birth of the church and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
  • The word “awesome” is often overused in our society but a feeling of “awe” is too often missed. Awe is the feeling one experiences when we encounter something majestic, sacred or sublime.
  • Those first disciples and followers of Jesus responded to the gift of the Holy Spirit by praising God, making sure everyone had what they needed to thrive — even if it meant giving up some of their own possessions or food. They knew and trusted that God would provide what was needed.
  • The Christian Scriptures are filled with stories centered around food and tables — both before and after Jesus’ resurrection. Gathering the family around the table is a place where the very sustenance of life is shared, the place where stories that shape our identity are told and where we are reminded that we travel on this journey of discipleship not alone, but in community.

Return to the ideas generated in the second reading of Scripture. Ask those gathered to share the word or phrase that spoke to them and why.


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.