July 5: God is gracious — 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: Psalm 145:8-14

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

For the second reading, divide into two groups. Rotate reading each verse aloud together as a group.

Connecting through story

Watch and listen to the children’s book “Down the Road” read aloud in this clip.

  • Why did Hetty try to reach for the apples?
  • What wasn’t she thinking about?
  • What were the consequences?
  • Should her parents have been angry with her? Why weren’t they?


Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • When are times when we do things that are not our best selves?
  • How do you think God feels or reacts?
  • What do you think it means when the Psalmist says, “The LORD is gracious and merciful”?
  • Why is God patient and forgiving with us?
  • The psalm says all creation gives God thanks and tells of God’s goodness. Why do you think that happens?
  • What can our response be when we encounter God’s grace and mercy?
  • How can we give God thanks and tell of God’s goodness? Why should we?


Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Many of us equate God’s actions with what we would do and how we would react.
  • The good news is God’s ways are not our ways.
  • The essence of God is good and loving.
  • God does not act in ways that are inconsistent with who God is.
  • God’s love, mercy and grace for us are greater than anything we could dream, hope or work for – they’re bigger than anything we can imagine.
  • Therefore, we don’t have to try and earn God’s favor — it’s a free gift.
  • Because it’s a gift, we live in ways that give thanks to God and tell of God’s goodness, glory and faithfulness.
  • This doesn’t take away the human consequences to poor choices, but even our poor choices cannot take away God’s love, forgiveness and mercy.

Ask each person to create a scenario where we are not acting as our best selves. Act out each scenario. Choose one person for each scenario who will give “God’s response” based on today’s psalm.



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.