God’s wisdom: Family faith formation for September 19, 2021


Note: Gather colored pencils, pens or markers and paper for a doodling exercise.


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: James 3:13-18

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, invite everyone to doodle with colored pencils or pens and a piece of paper what comes to their mind as the listen to the Scripture. What was the shape? What colors were used?

Connecting through story

Watch this clip from “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back.”

  • What wisdom was Yoda giving to Luke?
  • What do you think Yoda wanted Luke to understand?
  • How is he supposed to live when he is a Jedi?


Connecting with our lives

 Engage in dialogue:

  • How do you know when someone is wise?
  • What do you think James wants us to understand?
  • Read this passage from the perspective of The Message. How does this version strengthen or change your understanding of this passage from James?
  • Who are some people you think are wise?
  • What is the difference between smart and wise?
  • In what ways are you wise?
  • In what ways can you become wiser?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Today’s Scripture is from the book of James, whose main focus is on how we are to live our faith in the world.
  • One of the most familiar passages in James is “faith without works is dead.”
  • The author emphasizes that faith and the practice of faith (or deeds) must go hand in hand.
  • According to James, wisdom and the practice of faith go hand in hand as well.
  • The Greek word for “wisdom” is Sophia. Therefore, God’s Wisdom is often portrayed, or personified, as a woman — in Scripture, in art, icons, films and literature.
  • There is a difference between God’s wisdom and the world’s wisdom.
  • God’s wisdom is consistent with God’s priorities and God’s care and concern for all people. We recognize God’s wisdom when it is consistent with who God is and what God values.
  • What is wise from a worldly perspective is too often biased toward the person who is deciding what is wise and what is not. If it leads to anger, self-gain and does not value love of God and neighbor, then we can know it is not God’s wisdom but the world’s ways.
  • James wants us to understand that God’s wisdom is to be our priority and we are to embody that wisdom in our everyday live.
  • Use God’s wisdom to guide our decisions, define our relationships and pattern our lives.
  • We can claim God’s wisdom when it is embodied in our lives.

Make a list of all the words that remind you of God’s wisdom and the ways it is embodied in life. Then create a Word Cloud, print and post it in a common area where your family will see it each day as a reminder to live into God’s wisdom.


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.