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Proverbs: Family faith formation for September 5, 2021

 

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: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

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

Read the text a second time antiphonally verse by verse.

Connecting through story

Watch this episode of Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” about a man’s generosity toward those who live in poverty.

  • What did the man pay for these students to go to college?
  • What difference will that make in their lives?
  • What difference will that gift make in the world?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue using these questions to guide your reflection and discussion:

    1. What surprised you in this text?
    2. What challenged you in this text?
    3. What sounded wise to you?
    4. What disturbed you?
    5. What makes you think differently?
    6. What makes you act differently?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • A proverb is a short saying whose intent is to impart a bit of wisdom. Proverbs are not unique to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Confucius, Native Americans, Gandhi, Mark Twain, Mother Teresa as well as other writers, philosophers and religions all have sayings that share sage understanding.
  • The Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is a collection of wise sayings whose intent is to teach as they are interpreted within the larger scope of Scripture and the particulars contexts.
  • We learned last week that a distinctive aspect of being God’s people and living within either the Mosaic covenant or the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ, is the expectation of justice. It is built into the fabric of the covenants, and thus, who God’s people are and to whom they belong.
  • The final two verses reminded the original reader, and hopefully the current reader, of the mandate to mediate justice and mercy at the gates of the city for the widow, orphan and the alien (Scripture’s way of saying those who have no power, are likely to be marginalized or left out, or those diminished by society).
  • This proverb reinforces that justice is integrated into what it means to be faithful.
  • It is a reminder that God does not confer more value on one person than another.
  • Human value and worth are given by God not based upon what each person can earn or what they do.
  • As such, those who stand at intersections with requests for assistance are as valuable to God, and to God’s people, as the person whose financial prospects exceed their basic needs.
  • It is interesting that the proverb does not ask us to determine if those who live in poverty actually need help or what they would do with the assistance we are to provide, it simply admonishes that we provide what is needed.
  • Doing justice, following these precepts, providing for the poor is not about the person who receives so much as it is about the person’s faithfulness who is giving.

Take a moment to think about your context, your world and life today. Now, write a proverb that provides wisdom and teaching. The topic is completely up to you.

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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