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October 25 — Reformation Sunday: Family faith formation @ home

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: Matthew 22:34-39

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

As the Scripture is read a second time consider this: If you could ask Jesus one follow-up question, after his response to the lawyer, what would it be and why?

Connecting through story

Both clips are about the Reformation. If you have children in your family, you may want to watch this animated one.

If it’s just adults in your family, you may want to watch this one.

 

  • In what ways did Luther, and the other Protestant Reformers, seek to love God?
  • In what ways did they seek to love their neighbors?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue

  • Why do you think the lawyer “tested” Jesus?
  • Of all the commandments in the Bible, why do you think Jesus chose these two?
  • How were the Reformers seeking to love God?
  • How did they love neighbor?
  • How do you show your love for God?
  • How do you show your love for neighbor?
  • What’s hard about loving God?
  • What gets in our way of loving our neighbor?
  • What is one benefit you personally enjoy because the Reformation happened?
  • What is one thing you would change (“reform”) in the church today?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Jesus drew on his Jewish heritage for his answer to the lawyer.
  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” is a rephrasing of Deuteronomy 6:4-5. This text was considered to be the summary of all the commandments God gave Moses.
  • “And your neighbor as yourself” is also from the Hebrew Scriptures (Leviticus 19:18).
  • Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he showed and taught that to love God is first and foremost and to love neighbor is to show our love for God.
  • The Reformers – Martin Luther and John Calvin chief among them – wanted the church to be consistent with what the Bible teaches us.
    • Scripture is to be our primary and unfailing source of authority in matters of faith and the life of faith.
    • God alone is Sovereign.
    • We are saved by God’s grace in Jesus Christ through faith.
    • Faith is a gift from God.
    • The gift of grace and the salvation that comes to us from God is given first. Only after God’s gift of grace do we respond in gratitude by living lives that are faithful and pleasing to God.
  • The last Sunday in October is the day Protestant churches all across the world celebrate Reformation Sunday. It marks the significance of Martin Luther nailing the 95 ways (called “theses” at the time) he thought the Roman Catholic Church should change. He nailed them to the church door on October 31, 1517.

Presbyterians’ primary Reformation theologian in John Calvin. While Luther’s brand of the Reformation happened in Germany. John Calvin’s legacy was established in Geneva, Switzerland. We are connected to Luther through our Protestant roots, but Calvin’s (and Presbyterian) theology has some distinct differences from Luther. Here is a preview of the PC(USA) film “John Calvin: His Life and Legacy.”

Your presbytery’s resource center may have a copy you can borrow.

 

Prayer

Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.

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