Sunday, June 14, 2020

Worshiping at Home on June 21

Worshiping at Home
June 21, 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 we will worship God knows us completely and loves us deeply.  It can be a comforting message in this time of pandemic fears and racial tensions.  (Note: this week’s lectionary texts are unusually difficult for children.  So, I selected one section of the gospel teachings and a psalm related to it.)

Create a worship center by putting a picture of each person in your household on a paper heart.  Cut the hearts from red paper if possible or draw them with a red marker and cut around the border.  Cut one extra heart to place on the open Bible and use for the prayer time.  Add a Bible and a candle. 

Print at least one copy of the Psalm 139 script to pass around as you take turns reading it.

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 God’s love 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 about God’s love and presence with us include:
Our God Our Help in Ages Past (print song sheets below)
Jesus Loves Me
Deep and Wide
Jesu Fill Us with your love
Kum Bah Yah


Worship leader gathers the family lighting or turning on the candle and saying:   “Come, let us worship God together.”

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

Read the gospel below and ponder the questions below it:

Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny?  But your God knows when any one of them falls to the ground.  Even the hairs on your head are counted.  So don’t be afraid!  You are worth much more than many sparrows.  (Matthew 10:29-31  CEV)

1.      Today we do not buy sparrows.  In Jesus’ day two sparrows were the smallest offering accepted at the Temple.  Poor people bought them for a penny, the smallest coin.
2.      Just for fun, guess together how many hairs there are on each of your heads.  Add them together to see how many hairs might be on all your heads.  Then reread “Even the hairs on your head are counted.”
3.      Finally reread the last sentence, “don’t be afraid!  You are worth much more than many sparrows.”

Read a psalm together.  Point out that a poet, probably King David, was thinking about this and wrote the following psalm.  Take turns around the family circle reading the verses below.

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Reader 1:      Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
   You know everything I do;
from far away you understand 
all my thoughts.

Reader 2:     You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.

Reader 3:     Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.

Reader 4:     You are all round me on every side;
you protect me with your power.

Reader 5:     Your knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.

Reader 6:     You created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother’s womb.

Reader 7:     I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.

Reader 8:     When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that I was there-
you saw me before I was born.

Reader 9:    The days allotted to me
had all been recorded in your book,
before any of them ever began.

Reader 10:    O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;
how many of them there are!

Reader 11:    If I counted them, they would be more 
                          than the grains of sand.
                       When I awake, I am still with you.

                                                         Good News Bible (TEV)

Questions to ponder together:

1.      I wonder how much the psalmist thought God loved him?  Can you imagine God knowing and loving you, each member of your family, even each person in the world that much?

2.      Go around the circle each one saying to then next, “NAME, God knows you and loves you.”

A parent reminds the family that when we sing and think about how much God loves us, 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.

Pick up the extra heart and note that God loves not just us but lots of other people – some we know personally and some we hear about and care about.  Pass the heart around the circle.  As each person gets the heart she names one person or group of people who God loves and offers a prayer for them.  The heart is then passed to the next person who repeats the process.  If you are into it, go around the circle another time.  Give people permission to pass if they wish.  Conclude praying the Lord’s Prayer together.

SING Jesus Love Me. 

The worship leader invites others to echo these words and motions which are a prayer from Saint Patrick.


Christ with me (hug yourself),
Christ before me (both palms up in front of you),
Christ behind me (arms behind you),
Christ in me hands over heart),
Christ beneath me (spread legs and firm your stance),
Christ above me (hands over head),
Christ on my right (hand out to right),
Christ on my left, hand out to left)
Christ when I lie down make a pillow with your hands and lay your head in it),
Christ when I sit down (sit down), Christ when I arise (stand up),
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me (point to head),
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me (point to mouth),
Christ in every eye that sees me (point to eyes),
Christ in every ear that hears me (point to ears.

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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