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October 11 — A refuge for the poor: Family faith formation @ home

Note: Before you begin, gather art supplies (paint, brushes and paper if you have them, or colored pens, markers, pencils or crayons and blank paper) for use in the second reading of the Scripture today.

Welcome 

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: Isaiah 25:1-9

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

Invite those gathered to take a piece of paper and paint, markers, crayons, colored pencils or pens. As the Scripture is read a second time, invite people to use color to express their thoughts, emotions or ideas that emerge from within them as they hear the Scripture and its themes read again. The intention is to stay in the “abstract” and “impression” realm rather than a realistic depiction of the text. Afterward, discuss what colors the Scripture elicited and why.

Connecting through story

Watch this video of young people talking about child poverty from the Children’s Defense Fund.

  • What did you hear as each young person described their experience of poverty?
  • What common themes and challenges emerged as they told their stories?
  • In what ways do you think their experiences shape who they are, how they live and how they view the world?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • What is a “refuge”?
  • What do you think it means to be a “refuge to the poor … the needy … a shelter”?
  • What does this passage teach us about God’s priorities?
  • How should God’s priorities inform the world’s priorities?
  • In ways do our own priorities reflect God’s priorities?
  • When ours are different from God’s, why do you think that happens?
  • When they are the same as God’s, how does that happen?
  • Why is it easy or difficult to care about and for the poor like God does?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • A prophet is a person whom God uses to send a very important message to the people.
  • Jesus was considered a prophet, but Isaiah was a prophet long before Jesus.
  • God rescued the Israelites from slavery and oppression in Egypt and brought them to the land God promised their ancestor Abraham.
  • When God gave Israel the Promised Land, they were expected to live in ways that reflected God’s love and care.
  • If someone was poor, needed food, water or a home, it was God’s people who were responsible for providing those needs just as God always provided for Israel’s needs.
  • Unfortunately, they became caught up in their own greed and power and started ignoring and turning away the people who needed them most.
  • Isaiah was sent to remind them that God has extra care for those who are poor, powerless and vulnerable.
  • All through Scripture God shows over and over again that there is a special place in God’s heart for those most in need and God expects us to have a special care for them as well.

Watch/listen to this children’s book, “Lily and the Paper Man,” and discuss how Lilly reflects God’s priorities, how she was changed through the story and why.

Prayer

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.

 

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