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Second Sunday of Easter — Family faith formation for April 24, 2022

Welcome

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, 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 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 118:14-29 (NRSV, CEB)

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

As you listen to the Scripture read a second time, make a list of all the Easter themes you hear in this Psalm.

Connecting through story

Listen to this song, “Christ is Risen” :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMX9CNgRJCM&t=206s

  • According to this song, what is the impact that “Christ is risen” from the grave?
  • In what ways does this song connect with the Psalm you just read?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue

  • If you put Psalm 118:14-29 (and the list you made earlier as you listened to the text a second time,) the song you just listened to and the Easter story in conversation with one another, how do they connect with each other?
  • Why do you think Psalm 118 is often called “an Easter Psalm?”
  • In what ways is the Lord your strength and salvation?
  • If Christ is considered the cornerstone, in what ways does he support us?
  • The Psalmist talks about “the gate,” in what ways is Christ our gate and what does he open for us as we go through the gate?
  • What light has God given us through Christ?
  • What does the Psalmist means by, “God’s steadfast love endures forever?”
  • Why is this something for which we should rejoice all of our days?
  • How do you rejoice and give praise to God in your everyday life?
  • In what ways does your life reflect your hallelujah?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion

  • Psalm 118:14-29 is considered “an Easter Psalm.” It speaks of the power of God to overcome death and bring salvation to the people.
  • Hallelujah is an ancient Hebrew word first used in the Hebrew Scriptures. The first part of the word means, “hallelu,” means praise, and the second part, “yah,” is a word for God. So, hallelujah literally means to praise God. Just as hallelujah was carried over from the Jews to the Christian, it has made its way into almost every language on earth and means the same in each.
  • God raising Christ from the grave has consequences:
    • salvation for all those whom God created,
    • restoring our broken relationships with God and humanity,
    • a freedom from the bondage of our human sinfulness,
    • death no longer holds power over us because God has given us eternal life through Christ,
    • through Christ’s resurrection, we are blessed by God through him forever,
    • a radical welcome into the open and loving arms of Jesus, our Lord, and
    • the unmerited gift of grace — one we did not earn and do not deserve.
  • Salvation came at a cost but not one we had to pay. The cost was God’s son and the price was Jesus’ life.
  • Resurrection is God’s glory and our tangible reminder that in Christ we have new life and can start fresh each day. Resurrection is our call to live in ways that glorify God … to sing praises to our God throughout our whole lives.
  • The Psalm uses the imagery of a cornerstone. Architecturally, a cornerstone provides the foundation of the building. All the other parts – the walls, groundwork, and underpinning – all depend or and need the support of the cornerstone. In the New Testament, Jesus is called “The Cornerstone” as we all depend upon and need the support that only Christ can provide.
  • Resurrection, salvation, hallelujah and grace are all connected to and through blessing. A blessing literally means God has given us a gift that results in and increases our happiness and peacefulness. Christ’s resurrection is the greatest blessing God has given us because everything else comes from that self-giving act of grace.

Listen to “The World Blessing” sung in 257 languages. It is based on Numbers 6:24-26.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d48-qbcovVY

  • Explore the ways in which this blessing connects to the Easter story and how this blessing from Aaron, Moses’ brother, is fulfilled in God’s resurrection work in Christ.

Prayer

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

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