God’s life-giving love: Family faith formation at home



Before you begin, invite those gathered to go outside (or if weather does not permit, around the house) and gather something that reminds them of new life (a flower, a leaf, water, a cross, the Bible or anything they think connects with resurrection) and place it in the center of the gathering after each repetition of “He is risen indeed!” Repeat as often as necessary.

One:    Christ is risen!
All:      He is risen indeed!
(Place a sign of new life on the table.)

One:    There are signs all around. Christ is risen!
All:      He is risen indeed!
(Place a sign of new life on the table.)

One:    The old has gone and the new is come. Christ is risen!
All:      He is risen indeed!
(Place a sign of new life on the table.)

One:    Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we can begin anew. Christ is risen!
All:      He is risen indeed!
One:    We are here, Holy Spirit. Show us new ways to be faithful.

God sightings and prayer offerings

Invite each person to share a 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: 1 John 5:9-13

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

For the second reading of the today’s Scripture use mind mapping to follow John’s ideas and how they are connected. Here’s a quick tutorial about mind mapping.


Connecting through story

Watch this episode of “On the Road” with Steve Hartman.

  • Why did Miles give away the $20 he found?
  • What difference did it make in the soldier’s life?
  • What do you imagine Miles said to his father at his grave?



Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • The world sometimes talks about “kindness.” What is God’s word for kindness?
  • What do you think “testimony” means?
  • What does God want us to know, understand and believe?
  • What is God’s ultimate “testimony”?
  • How does God show us that life-giving love is God’s most important gift?
  • How can we give testimony or witness to God’s life-giving act of love in Jesus Christ?
  • What does God’s life-giving love look like in today’s world?
  • How is God’s life-giving love shared today?
  • Why would we want to share that kind of love with others?
  • How are our acts of love in this world a testimony to God?
  • How can we share that with others so they in turn can share it with someone else? 

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Today’s Scripture reading speaks of God’s testimony – or God’s declaration – of who God is and to the life God expects us to live.
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of “testimony” can be found here.
  • The outward sign of God’s ultimate act of life-giving love is seen and experienced in Jesus Christ.
  • The way in which we “pay God back” for the gift of eternal life and the grace from which that comes, is to “pay it forward” by giving love and grace to others so that they, in turn, give love and grace to those whom they encounter.
  • When we love, as God loves us, we are declaring God’s love in and for all people in the world.
  • When we love in the same way God loves us, we are making God’s testimony of love known in concrete and tangible ways.
  • What the world may call “acts of kindness” (random or intentional), God calls acts of love — random and intentional.

Create a mock courtroom with an attorney who asks the question, a judge and witnesses to testify to the ways in which God has given love and the ways in which we have acted in loving ways that bear witness to God’s love. The questions the lawyer asks are: When have you seen or experienced God’s life-giving love? When have you shown, or given, life-giving love to another person?


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.