Monday, August 10, 2020

Worship at Home on August 16, 2020


Worshiping at Home on August 16, 2020

You Don’t Have To Get Even



 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.

 Worship Theme.  Last week we read and pondered the story of all the trouble between Joseph and his brothers that led the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery.  This week we read about what happened when Joseph met those brothers again in a position to get revenge big time.  His response leads us to ponder the possibility of following his refusal to get even.  (For extra fun and to get the full story have a movie night: One night before the worship service, watch “Joseph, King of Dreams,” an excellent 1 hour and 15 minutes animated version of this story.  Available on both Amazon and Netflix.  Goes great with popcorn.)

 Set up your worship space.  Make a worship center if you wish.  Worship centers may include a Bible (today open to Genesis 45), and a candle.  Some will set up chairs in rows or a circle.  Others will simply worship wherever they gather. 

 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 a hymnal, look up “God” or “Jesus” or “Praise God” in the topical index to find familiar hymns.  If you have instrument players, choose the songs enough ahead that they can practice and play along as you sing.  If you have recorded music sing along with your favorite singer.  Some songs that go well with this theme include…

The Servant Song – “Brother, sister, let me serve you….”

Dona Nobis Pacem

Help Us Accept Each Other

For the Beauty of the Earth – especially verse 4 “for the joy of human love…”

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy




Keep it simple and repeat it each week.  It becomes a way to say we are getting started now.  Light or switch on your candle and say, “Come, let us worship God together.”


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


To recall last week’s story about Joseph and his brothers ask

1.      What did Joseph do that made his brothers hate him so much.

2.      What did his brothers do to get even with Joseph

Refer to Genesis 37 or your Bible storybook if you need help.

 Because the biblical conclusion of this story is long and complicated, read this condensed version:


Joseph was a slave in Egypt for many, many years.  During that time he helped people around him understand puzzling dreams that worried them.  So, when the Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, had puzzling, scary dreams, Joseph was taken to him.  Joseph explained that the dreams were a warning about seven good years with more food than anyone could eat to be followed by seven years of no food at all.  When Joseph suggested that food be set aside during the good years so that it would be ready for the bad years, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of carrying the plan out.  For seven years Joseph oversaw the storing of extra food.  Then, the bad years came and Joseph oversaw giving out the food to hungry people.  Imagine his surprise when his brothers appeared one day to buy food.  They did not recognize Joseph, but Joseph knew exactly who they were.  At first he said nothing, but tested them.  He told them they could not come back for more food unless they brought their younger brother with them.  Their father remembered what had happened to Joseph and did not want to send his youngest son to Egypt with his brothers.  Finally, they all got so hungry that the father agreed and all the brothers returned to Egypt.  When all the brothers appeared before him, Joseph wept and told them who he was.  The brothers were frightened.  What would Joseph do to them!  But Joseph told them not to worry because God had sent him to Egypt to save many lives including theirs.  He told them to bring all their family, especially their father, to Egypt so that he could take care of them.  And, they did. 

 Ponder these questions:

1.      What are some ways Joseph could have gotten even with his brothers when they showed up in Egypt?

2.      Why do you think Joseph did not tell his brothers who he was right away?

3.      Why was Joseph able to not get even with them or take revenge?

 When you finish your explorations, everyone says together,

“This is the Word of the Lord.”


A parent reminds the family that each one of them have things they need tell God about fusses they have had with other members of the family, 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 them.  The same parent then says, “Look at me.  God promises us that whenever we get into trouble with each other 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.

 Put a small dab of good smelling lotion in the hands of each person.  Instruct them to rub it in and enjoy it.  Then introduce Psalm 133 as a lotion-y poem about how pleasant it is when people get along well.  After reading it, restate verses 1 and 2 in your own words enjoying a laugh over how much we would not like having oil poured over our heads, but how nice the lotion is.  Reread verse 1 and the first half of verse 3 comparing getting along to the dew on a mountain, then make up your own verses, such as “like warming up by a crackling fire” or “like jumping into a cool pool on a hot day.”


In honor of Joseph’s work to feed everyone, together write a check to your local food bank or some other hunger organization in your community.  Address the envelope and put it in the mailbox (or assign someone to put it in the mailbox after your worship time).  Pray offering your check to hungry people in your community and sing whatever song you sing at offering time at church.


Another word for “refuse to get even with” is “forgive.”  When we forgive someone, we admit that they did something to hurt us, but decide to stop things there and not try to get even.  That is hard work.  So pray for yourselves and for all who refuse to get even when they are hurt.  To each of the prayers below the whole family responds, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”  Conclude praying the whole Lord’s Prayer.


Oh God, it is hard not to hit back or call another name or do whatever we can to get even when someone hurts us.


God of peace, when we want to point our fingers and say “they started it,” teach us to find peaceful ways to settle our problems together.


God of the prophets, show us ways to stand up for justice without getting violent with each other. 


God of love, teach us to find ways to avoid war.


Forgiving God, teach us how to forgive those who sin against us.  It is not easy.


We pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray,  “Our father who are in heaven…”.




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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