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Seventh Sunday of Easter — Family faith formation for May 29, 2022

We are in the season of Easter (sometimes called Eastertide). What does Psalm 97 have to do with Easter? Why do you think it was chosen as one of today’s texts?

Angela Logan attends a service at Four Winds Field in South Bend, Indiana, on Sept. 20, 2020. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Welcome

Before you begin, invite those gathered to go outside (or if the 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 97 (NRSVCEB)

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

Take a piece of paper (at least 8.5”x11” but larger will give you more space) and divide it in half horizontally. Then, create 6 boxes above the line and 6 boxes below the line for a total of 12 boxes. (It should look like a comic book page.) For the second consideration of the text today, sketch what comes as you read/hear each verse.

Connecting through story

Listen to this praise song, “God of Wonders”:

  • What are the wonders described in this song and the accompanying pictures?
  • What were the wonders in your depiction of Psalm 97?
  • What do they have in common?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue

  • Why do you think the Psalmist is rejoicing that the Lord is king?
  • What does it mean for a king to reign?
  • What attributes does Psalm 97 ascribe to God?
  • Why are these worthy of praise?
  • What surprises you about the imagery in this text?
  • What inspires you from the image of the text?
  • We are in the season of Easter (sometimes called Eastertide). What does Psalm 97 have to do with Easter? Why do you think it was chosen as one of today’s texts?
  • Why does Easter call us to rejoice in God?
  • What do you see in the world around you that calls you to rejoice?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion

  • Today is the seventh Sunday of Easter and the last Sunday before Pentecost. Easter season, sometimes referred to as Eastertide, is the 50 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost. It is a time to look closely at this new creation God has and is doing through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
  • This week we look at Psalm 97 — a psalm of praise for God. It affirms that God alone is creator of all wonders of the world and universe, and God alone reigns over all that is, was, and will be.
  • While an earthly king may seek to claim such power and control, the psalmist wants us to understand that only God can rightfully, and righteously, assert such characteristics and absolute supremacy.
  • At first glance, one may wonder why this Psalm from the Hebrew scriptures is included in the Easter season. However, the realm of God is proclaimed and inaugurated when we understand Christ’s life, death and resurrection. In God’s self-giving act of salvation, we have been reconciled once and for all to the one who creates and rules the universe. Our sins have been forgiven and we are brought into right relationship with God, not through any actions or inclinations of our own but purely because of God’s gift of Jesus Christ. This, and this alone, is why God is Lord and worthy of our praise and adoration.

Read the psalm once more, review your graphic illustration from earlier, then turn your drawings into a photographic story. Using your phone or another camera, go out into the world and take pictures that can be used to illustrate this psalm and tell its story. 

 Prayer

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

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