Worshiping at Home
July 19, 2020
GETTING READY TO WORSHIP TOGETHER AT HOME
When a family that includes children worships at home, it will look more free form than what happens in a sanctuary. Especially HEARING THE WORD will be more active. Children explore God’s word with eyes, voices, hands and even feet as well as their ears.
This week’s our worship is built around Jacob’s dream of a ladder reaching up to heaven as he runs into the desert from his murderous brother. It is part of a larger story of a family that loves each other, fights with each other, resorts to terrible tricks to steal what belongs to the other, and in the end forgives each other. In short it is not unlike families toughing it out as they shelter in place today. Jacob’s dream is God’s reassurance that God is with him in the good and bad times and that he is part of God’s big family.
Create a worship center by spreading a brown, desert-y piece of fabric or paper (maybe the inside of a grocery bag) on a table or the floor. On it set an open Bible or Bible storybook, a candle (either wick or battery), and a good size rock. Write “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.” on a card or sheet of paper. Lay it on the worship center so it will be handy when needed.
Prepare the Bible story in which Jacob dreams of a ladder to heaven as he runs into the desert from his murderous brother. Because the story is rather complicated in the Bible, look for it in a Bible story book. You might want to also read the preceding story or stories to learn why Jacob’s brother was so angry. If you do not have such a storybook read from Genesis 27:41-45 and 28:10-17. Or, read all of chapters 27 and 28 to be ready to tell the story in your own words.
The classic story the Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, carries a message very like that of Jacob’s dream in the desert. If you have a copy of the book, find it and prepare one person or two people (the baby bunny and his mother) to read it. Or, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsYj1wu7u8k to watch and hear the story read.
It is possible to worship together without singing at all. But if your family sings together, decide before worship what you will sing. Sing whatever songs praising God that your family knows. If you have instrumentalists, decide early enough that they can practice. Or, Google the titles of songs to find YouTube videos for singing along. Some songs for today include:
Nearer My God to Thee –
Teach the chorus to younger children and sing the rest of this musical reflection on Jacob’s story.
Wherever I May Wander
This is a song Jacob could have sung as he woke up in the desert after his dream.
This Is My Father’s World
I Sing the Mighty Power of God
WORSHIPING GOD TOGETHER
CALLING YOURSELVES TO WORSHIP
Worship leader gathers the family lighting or turning on the candle and saying: “Come, let us worship and praise God together.”
SINGING SONGS OF PRAISE
Sing one or more songs praising God. They may be family favorites or ones from the list above.
HEARING AND EXPLORING THE WORD
Ask a younger member of the household to hold the rock in the worship center as another leader reads or tells the story of Jacob’s dream in the desert. Then, ponder these questions together.
1. I wonder how Jacob felt as he laid his head on the rock pillow and tried to fall asleep in the desert that night.
2. What words describe how he felt when he woke up?
3. What made the difference?
Read or watch The Runaway Bunny. Then, ponder these two questions.
1. In your own words what is the point of this story?
2. How is this story like the story of Jacob’s dream in the desert?
Read Genesis 28:16 -17, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.” Note that Jacob learned that wherever he was God would be with him. Since most of us are spending most of our time in our homes this summer, make a tour of the rooms of your house acknowledging that God is with you as you live in them. Either carry the stone from the worship center into each room and say together the verses aloud. Or, stop briefly in each room (yes, even the bathroom especially if bath time is a good time of day) to say how you find God present in that room before saying the verses. Giggles allowed as you celebrate all the ways God is with you in your house.
SING ANOTHER SONG
Each member of the family says to at least one other person, “Go in peace. God loves you and I love you.” This may be done by going around the circle or with each member of the family saying it to every other member of the family.