Monday, April 20, 2020

Worshiping at Home on April 26, 2020

Worshiping at Home
on the Third Sunday of Easter

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.  Within this free form it also good to have a few rituals that are repeated every week.  You will find suggestions for both ways to hear God’s particular Word each week and rituals that surround it every week.  Over the weeks, every family will develop their own worship style.  This week the gospel takes you on a road trip to Emmaus.  You are invited to join 2 of Jesus’ disciples as they read, walk and finally run their way through the trip. 

Today I had no bread or flowers, but spread
a scarf on the fireplace hearth and added
a Bible and candle to create a worship center
Set up your worship space.  Create a simple worship space spreading a pretty piece of fabric on a table and placing a piece of bread, a Bible open to Luke 24, and a candle or some flowers on it. 

Get ready for a gospel road trip.  Most commentators say the trip to Emmaus was about seven miles – a long way to walk twice in one day!  Figure out a familiar point that is about 7 miles from your house to use as a reference.  Then map a much shorter trip you can actually walk together.  It may be out the front door, around the back of the house and almost to the front door again before turning around for the return trip.  Or it may need to be a path around the inside of the house.  Don’t make either one so complicated that you can’t remember easily how to make the return trip.  Print one copy of the script for the trip found at the end of this post.

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 about Jesus and God your family knows.  Today sing one of the Easter songs you have been singing or try a fresh Easter song, maybe “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ.”  At the end of the service, after hearing the story of the road to Emmaus sing “Open My Eyes.”  Google the titles of these to find YouTube videos for singing along.


Keep it simple and repeat it each week.  It becomes a way to say we are getting started now.

“Come, let us worship God together.”

Sing one or more songs of happy praise songs or Easter songs that you selected as you got ready to worship.

A parent reminds the family that each one of them have things they need tell God they are sorry about, maybe from the last week, maybe from a long time ago.  Allow a full minute of silence for everyone to close their eyes and talk to God about the ways they have messed up.  The same parent then says, “Look at me.  God promises us that whenever we mess up and are truly sorry, God forgives us.  God always loves us no matter what.  Because God loves us no matter what, we can love each other no matter what.  So…”  Pass the peace as you do in the sanctuary if you are all healthy.


Introduce your gospel trip as the story of an actual trip that was 7 miles each way.  Name the local reference for 7 miles. 

Then read and walk the gospel trip to Emmaus following directions in the script.

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The Road to Emmaus
Luke 24:13-35

Start walking your trip path

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”

Come to a full stop

They stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 

Continue walking and reading

He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.  Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  
Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 
Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

Stop at the far end of your trip

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”
So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”  
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem;

Run all the way back to the starting point before reading

(probably breathlessly) and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.


FOLLOWED BY “The Word of the Lord…” or any response that follows the gospel reading.
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After the play ponder these questions together:

Show with your body how you think the two disciples felt as walked down the road to Emmaus before Jesus joined them?

What questions do you think they asked their fellow traveler?

I wonder how they felt when all of the sudden they recognized Jesus.

Why do you think the two disciples jumped up and hurried straight back to Jerusalem having already walked 7 miles that day?

Together list ways your congregation tells others about Jesus and shares God’s love.  Write your offering check, put it in an envelope even walk the envelope to the mail box.  (This is a great way to let your children know how much money your family gives to the church.)


Make a list of people who tell you about Jesus (Sunday school teachers, preachers, etc).  Make cards or send emails thanking at least one of them for what they do.  When you finish, say a brief prayer giving your card or message to the addressee and to God.  Sing whatever song you sing at offering time at church.

Pray together today with one leader starting off and everyone else saying “God, help us see Jesus” in response.  The leader can help people know when it is their by pointing to them and to themselves at the appropriate times.

God we thank you for all the ways you make yourself.  We thank you especially for all the ways we know you through Jesus. 
God, help us see Jesus
…in stories about him in the Bible.  We thank you for stories about Jesus healing, teaching being friends with everyone he met, even be killed on the cross and for his rising again on Easter.
God, help us see Jesus
…in songs and prayers and baptisms and communion as we worship together.
God, help us see Jesus
…in quiet times when we are worshiping on our own.
God, help us see Jesus
…in people we meet every day, like the traveler the disciples met on the road to Emmaus.
God, help us see Jesus
…in people who are hungry, who need a house to live in, who are sick, or in prison.  Teach us to see your faces in theirs and to reach out to help them as we would you.  And hear us now as we pray together the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, Our Father….

SING ANOTHER SONG - maybe another Easter song or “Open My Eyes”

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.

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