Divine restoration — Family faith formation for October 24, 2021


Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy as a way 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 and 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  — Psalm 126

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

For the second reading of today’s text, watch and listen to this recording.  

Connecting through story

Watch and listen to the children’s book by Desmond Tutu, God’s Dream.

  • What are God’s dreams?
  • How do they bring joy?
  • In what ways do you help bring God’s dreams to life?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue

  • What great things has God done in the past?
  • What great things does God do now?
  • What does God do that brings our laughter?
  • What things can we do to bring laughter to God?
  • The text also talks about sorrow and weeping, what makes God sad and causes God to weep?
  • What would bring joy back to God?
  • When has God done marvelous and wonderful things for you?
  • When have you been sad?
  • What brought joy back to you?
  • Where do you think God is when you are sad and hurting?
  • To whom do you turn when you are sad?
  • What brings your job back?
  • How would you define restoration?
  • How does our world need restoring?
  • How can God use us to bring about restoration in those situations?
  • How does God use you to bring joy and rejoicing to your family, friends and neighbors?

Teaching Points that can be incorporated into your discussion

  • All four lectionary texts this week speak to some aspect of restoration. The Gospel reading in Mark is Jesus returns the sight to Bartimaeus. The Old Testament passage is the return of Job’s fortunes. The author of Hebrews writes of a people burdened by sin but reconciled with God through Christ.
  • The themes in today’s Psalm imply it may have been written after the return of Israel from Babylonian exile. The Psalmist longs for a time when Israel’s fortune, political power and land would be restored to its former glory.
  • One of the powerful things about this Psalm is in the interplay between remembering and celebrating the glorious things God has done in the past and the absolute trust and joy that God will do the same in the present and in the future.
  • There is nothing that we can do, that the world can do to us – no matter how hurt, broken and sad – that God cannot bring about healing, hope and restoration.
  • Restoration takes many forms both in Scripture and in our lives. We are restored to wholeness when illness is cured or in the resurrection that comes with death. Our relationship with God, broken by our own rebellion and disobedience, is restored by the reconciling act of Jesus Christ.
  • Remembering what God has done reminds us what God will do now and in the future.
  • Even weeping will be turned into joy.

Identify a place or situation in your community or the world that is broken, hurting and in need restoration. Then, think about how you might play a part in bringing restoration or joy to that concern. Now, as a family, take time this week to volunteer so that God may use you to bring some joy and healing.  


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.