Monday, June 22, 2020

Worshiping at Home on June 28

Worshiping at Home
June 28, 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. 

This week’s theme  is the importance of making choices – especially hard choices.

Create a worship center  by spreading a pretty piece of fabric.  On it set a candle (either wick or battery) and an open Bible.  Leave space for adding three half page posters each featuring one choice.

Prepare two members of the household to read the parts of Jeremiah and Hananiah using the script below.  A practice session will enable them to show their feelings about this confrontation with their faces and posture.  Print at least two copies of the script.

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:
Be Thou My Vision
Seek Ye First
What Does the Lord Require of You
Guide My Feet
I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me
Lord I Want to be a Christian


Worship leader gathers the family lighting or turning on the candle.  Put the decision posters on the worship center one at the time reading each one and commenting if you wish. Conclude by saying:   “Come, let us worship God together and ponder choices we make every day.”

Sing one or more songs about being disciples that you selected as you got ready to worship.

Introduce Jeremiah and Hananiah as two prophets who are having a disagreement.  Half of God’s people have already been defeated and taken into captivity in Babylon.  In this scene Jeremiah is wearing a wooden yoke to show that God will put the rest of the people into captivity too.  The Jeremiah and Hananiah readers stand face to face to read their scripts following directions.  Tell the rest of the household that they are the crowd of people in the Temple who listened to this fuss. 

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Jeremiah 28:1-17

Jeremiah (facing the congregation):  In that same year, in the fifth month of the fourth year that Zedekiah was king, Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from the town of Gibeon, (point to Hananiah) spoke to me in the Temple.  In the presence of the priests and of the people he told me that the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had said:

Hananiah:  “I have broken the power of the king of Babylonia.  Within two years I will bring back to this place all the temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylonia.  I will also bring back the king of Judah, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, along with all the people of Judah who went into exile in Babylonia.  Yes, I will break the power of the king of Babylonia. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Jeremiah:  (Facing congregation)  Then in the presence of the priests and of all the people who were standing in the Temple, I said to Hananiah:  (Turn to face Hananiah)  “Wonderful! I hope the Lord will do this! I certainly hope he will make your prophecy come true and will bring back from Babylonia all the temple treasures and all the people who were taken away as prisoners.  But listen to what I say to you and to the people.  The prophets who spoke long ago, before my time and yours, predicted that war, starvation, and disease would come to many nations and powerful kingdoms.  But a prophet who predicts peace can only be recognized as a prophet whom the Lord has truly sent when that prophet’s predictions come true.”
     (Turn back to the congregation)  Then Hananiah took the yoke off my neck, broke it in pieces, and said in the presence of all the people:

Hananiah:  “The Lord has said that this is how he will break the yoke that King Nebuchadnezzar has put on the neck of all the nations; and he will do this within two years.”

Jeremiah:  (face congregation)  Then I left.  Some time after this the Lord told me to go and say to Hananiah:   (face Hananiah)  “The Lord has said that you may be able to break a wooden yoke, but he will replace it with an iron yoke.  The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, has said that he will put an iron yoke on all these nations and that they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. The Lord has said that he will make even the wild animals serve Nebuchadnezzar.”
     (Almost as an aside to the congregation)  Then I told Hananiah this, and added, (facing Hananiah)  “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you, and you are making these people believe a lie.  And so the Lord himself says that he is going to get rid of you. Before this year is over you will die because you have told the people to rebel against the Lord.”
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After the reading ponder the following questions together:

1.      What was the hard choice the people faced here?
2.      Who would you have sided with?  Why?  If you can’t decide, what would you need to know to make that choice?
3.      Now let me tell you that God’s prophets had been telling the people for years that they were not living by God’s law (the Ten Commands) and so would be defeated and sent into captivity.  Does that change how you feel about your choice?  How?
4.      As it turned out Jeremiah was telling God’s true message.  The people were defeated and sent to Babylon as captives.  It was like God giving them a big time out to think about how they had been living.

Read Romans 6:23 from the CEV below after noting that it is the conclusion of Paul’s lecture about making good choices. 

“Sin pays off with death.  But God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Together ponder Paul's message.  Paul is saying that the choices we make matter.  Put his message into your own words.

At the end of June we are all getting tired of the covid 19 limits on what we can do and where we can go.  It is easy to say, “How long is this going to last!?”  Psalm 13 was written by a person facing a trouble that seemed just as endless.  Read it in parts today as your prayer.  If you want make up other “how long?” prayers to add to the psalm and conclude “I rely on your constant love….”

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Psalm 13
All:                  How long

Leader:          will you forget me, Lord? Forever?

All:                  How long

Leader:          will you hide yourself from me?

All:                  How long

Leader:          must I endure trouble?

All:                  How long

Leader:          will sorrow fill my heart day and night?

All:                  How long

Leader:          will my enemies triumph over me?

Leader:          Look at me, O Lord my God, and answer me.
                        Restore my strength; don’t let me die.
                        Don’t let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.” 
                        Don’t let them gloat over my downfall.

All:                  I rely on your constant love;
                        I will be glad, because you will rescue me.
                        I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.

                                    Based on Today’s English Version

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SING “Guide My Feet” or another discipleship 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.

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