August 16: God truths — 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: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

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

Before reading the Scripture a second time, ask those gathered: “Who are the people we tend to reject or exclude?” Then read the passage again.

Connecting through story

Choose one of the two readings of Douglas Wood’s book “Old Turtle and the Broken Truth.” One version has children from a theater camp tell the story while the illustrations are shown. (Unfortunately, the children shown are exclusively white and female.) The other is a version where the narrator is unseen but reads quite quickly. Choose the one that best suits your family.

  • Why were the people fighting?
  • In the beginning of the story, why did creation reject the half-truth?
  • Why would a half-truth cause so much hostility?


Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, why do you think he included a section about God not rejecting anyone?
  • Why do you think Paul had to teach the Christians at Rome that God did not reject or turn away from the Jews?
  • Why do you think we humans tend to reject or exclude others?
  • What does today’s Scripture teach us about excluding others from God’s grace?
  • There are many truths about God that we come to know through Scripture and faith. What are some truths you know about who God is and how God acts?
  • How do you know they are true?
  • Which ones are your favorite and ones you want to remember always? Why do you want to remember those particular ones?
  • When do you need to be reminded?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome about 25-30 years after Jesus’ resurrection.
  • There was disagreement on whether Gentiles (those who were not Jewish) had to convert to Judaism before they could become Christian.
  • There was also disagreement on whether the Jews, whom God chose long before Christianity was a religion, were still God’s chosen people.
  • For Paul (and for us as Reformed Presbyterians), the faithfulness of God always prevails. God does not abandon, reject or turn away from those whom God chooses and whom God loves. God’s love never goes away.
  • God made a covenant (a promise) with the Israelites — God was their one true Lord and they were God’s people.
  • Even when humans break the covenant and are not faithful, God remains faithful.
  • We can trust the truth that God will never turn away or reject us because God has always been and will always be faithful to the promises God makes.
  • God’s faithfulness in the past is one way we know and trust God’s promises are true.


Sometimes, the voices of the world who want to reduce the expansiveness of God grace to human logic drown out the truths we know about God. This is when having a reminder can help. Take a walk outside and find a stone that is large enough to write on. Bring it back inside and use a marker to write on the stone one “God Truth” you want to be reminded of every time you see it. Place it in a prominent place where you will see it often.


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.