Monday, May 11, 2020

Worshiping at Home May 17, 2020

Worshiping at Home
May 17, 2020


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. 

Focus this week on God who is more powerful, more loving, more “everything” than we can even imagine.  It is a time to ponder who God is, to praise God and to thank God.  (NOTE: Generally I follow the lectionary.  Today’s texts are not easy for children and the epistle reading about Paul preaching about the Unknown God led me to a parallel story in the Old Testament, God giving his name, I AM WHO I AM, to Moses out of the burning bush.)

Plan ahead to how you will present today’s story.  Either read about the burning bush from Exodus 3:1-15 or from a Bible storybook your family enjoys.  If you have a video of “Prince of Egypt,” find the burning bush scene in it and plan to watch it together.

Write the phrases below on numbered slips of paper and put them on your worship center. 
1.      God, you are Creator
2.      God, you are our Father and Mother
3.      God, we call you Lord
4.      God, your name is I AM WHO I AM

Set up your worship center.  Create a simple worship space spreading a pretty piece of fabric on a table or the floor and adding an open Bible or Bible storybook, the numbered phrase cards, and a candle.  Do not light the candle until you read the story of the burning bush. 

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.  If you have been singing Easter songs, sing them today.  (It is still Easter season.)  If you have instrumentalists, decide early enough that they can practice.  Or, Google the titles of songs to find YouTube videos for singing along.  Print copies of the two word sheets at the end of this post to use singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and/or “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.”  Other songs to enjoy include
Praise Ye the Lord, Alleluia
Jesus Loves Me


Worship leader gathers the family saying:   “Come, let us worship God together.”

Sing one or more songs of songs about God that you selected as you got ready to worship.

A parent reminds the family that when we sing and think about how loving and powerful God is, we are aware of all the ways we mess up.  Each one of us have things we need tell God we 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 today’s story by lighting the candle and alerting worshipers to listen for a fire in the story.  Read from Exodus 3: 1-15 or the burning bush story from a Bible storybook.  Reread verses 13-15 or the part of the story about God’s name.
What did Moses see in the fire?
What name did God claim in the fire?
What do you think God was trying telling to tell Moses and us by taking this name?
What job did God give Moses and what did God promise Moses?
How do you think God’s name and promise made Moses feel about his job?

Invite everyone to close their eyes and use their hands to illustrate an old story about blind men meeting an elephant for the first time.

One man got hold of a leg of the elephant and said, “An elephant is a tree” (Encourage listeners to shape their hands around an elephant’s leg/ tree trunk.)
Another man grabbed the elephant’s tail and said, “Ah an elephant is a rope.”
Still another man put his hands on the elephant’s big broad side and said, “An elephant must be a wall.”
Yet another man moved his hands over the big flat ears and said, “Ah, an elephant is a fan.”
A fifth blind man reached out to touch the elephant’s tusks and said,  “Oh dear an elephant is a spear.”
And the last blind man got hold of the elephant’s trunk and said, “My, my an elephant is a snake.”

Ponder the story together with these questions.  They will stretch your thinking.
Did any of the blind men know what an elephant really is?
What is the storyteller telling us about the blind men and the elephant?
If the elephant in this story is God and the name God gave Moses is I AM WHO I AM, what is this story telling us about what we know about God?


Give each member of household a numbered card with one phrase naming God on it.  Ask them to read the cards in order leaving time between each card for the worship leader to offer the related prayers below.  Close praying the Lord’s Prayer together.

1.      God, you are Creator
LEADER:  Protect your whole world.  Be with us as we care for plants and animals and the whole earth.
2.      God, you are our Father and our Mother
LEADER:  Care for and be with people who are sick with coronavirus and other diseases.  Comfort those who are sad about friends and family who have died.  Guide scientists trying to find ways to cure this virus.  And, help all of us know how to best take care of each other.
3.      God, we call you Lord
LEADER:  Help us know what you want us to do and give us the courage to do it.
Guide our leaders as they make hard decisions about reopening in response to the virus that has not gone away.
4.      God, your name is I AM WHO I AM
LEADER:  You are more than we will ever understand completely.  You are awesome and holy.  We honor you and want to give you our best.
ALL: The Lord’s Prayer

Your offering today is a collection of thank yous for God.  As Individuals say one thing they thank God for, the family responds, “We thank you God”.  When you are finished sing the Doxology or whatever song your congregation sings at the offering time.

SING ANOTHER SONG if you wish. 

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.

                                These word sheets may be printed for non-commercial use.

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