Check out these fun household devotions for every day of Holy Week!
You are welcome to download them and print them and hand them out to your congregation!
Check out these fun household devotions for every day of Holy Week!
You are welcome to download them and print them and hand them out to your congregation!
Download Pr. Brigette’s Lent Devo book! She is using this in her congregation and wanted make it available to all of you!
Week four in our journey is the story of Isaac! For some fun and laughter with your family Click Here!
Gather your household. Have a candle (or everyone’s baptismal candles if you have them) and a bowl of water on a table. Light the candle (or all of them) and say: “Come Holy Spirit.” Open in prayer: Dear Jesus, through your baptism we too are named as God’s beloved children. May our lights shine in the darkness to glorify our Father in heaven. Amen.
For Children: What do we use water for in our day? (Bath, clean dishes, clothes, drink, cook, etc.) We use water all day long and we also need it for our bodies to be healthy. God uses water and words of love to tell the whole world that we belong to God now and forever. When you were baptized we splashed water on you three times (can you count to three?) and said, “In the name of the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.” Then we lit a candle just like we did here to remember that Jesus is the light of the world and that we reflect Jesus’ light in the world too. How can you show Jesus’ love at school? At home? At soccer/ballet/piano etc.?
For Adults/youth: Do you know the story of your baptism? Or do you remember your baptism? These stories are more than just a nice memory with family, but mark the day that you parents/sponsors proclaimed that life in and with God and the people of God is important. Not just important but vital-life and death. Water has much power in our world: it can clean, erode, give life, cause death, have beauty and be destructive. God uses water to tell the story of love between God and his people from the beginning. This story is continued with Jesus. Baptism, living water, woman at the well, thirsting on the cross and water flowing from his pierced side. Water is powerful but so is God’s word, God’s story in our lives. This story begins at birth, is proclaimed through water in baptism, is nourished at the table with bread and wine and is shared with us in community.
For All: From whom did you first hear God’s story? Or who was a primary teller of the story in your life? With whom do you tell the story of God’s love? Who would you like to tell about what God is doing in your life? What difference does this story of God’s love make in your daily life?
God of living water, we find ourselves rooted in your story of love. We are part of what you are doing in the world to show everyone that they are loved, forgiven and belong to you. We pray for your kingdom to come. Amen.
Remembering God’s story! Have the Luke reading printed off in large print and on a large piece of butcher paper (you will want blank space around the words). Invite people to bring in a copy of their baptism picture to place on the banner with the reading and/or draw an image or a symbol of baptism that is meaningful to them. Other options: invite people to write/draw where they experience God’s story in their lives or a prayer for where they could share God’s story.
At home: With children: Have copies (not precious originals) of baptismal pictures. Using construction paper or plain paper, make a small story book of your baptismal day.
With adults/youth: Place a picture of your baptism or a symbol of baptism (dove, candle, sea shell) on your bathroom mirror and every morning remember that you are being made new to go and share God’s love.
Take an old water bottle, decorate it with symbols of baptism. Place it where people in the household can place their spare change each day. At the end of Epiphany (Feb. 7th) donate the change to the ELCA World Hunger. www.elca.org
In this busy season, making time to check in with those in our households or with those whom we are in close relationship is vital. There are many ways to do this! Here is one: Gather your household around the Christmas tree or the Advent wreath (if you have one), or simply light a candle. Where do you see God doing something new in your life today? Where do pray for God’s work to be revealed?
This is not a “typical” getting ready for Christmas scripture text. No mention of Mary, John the Baptist, prophets, little town of Bethlehem, a baby or any of the images we associate with this time of year. So why is this part of our Advent reading? I tend to think it has something to do with verse six: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
For children: What are you excited about today? What is it that you are having a hard time waiting for? Presents? Time off of school? Snow? What are you worried about today? Tests? Friends? Brother or sister? Mom or dad? Our Bible reading tells us not to worry about anything but to know that God hears our joys and our worries. Make some colorful strips of paper about two inches by about eight inches to create a paper chain. You can have 24 of them to count down to Christmas. But on each chain each day, write or draw something that you are excited about and something that you are worried about. This will be a daily prayer to God. Each day add a chain (families can create one large chain or each person can have their own prayer chain) and hang it on your Christmas tree as a reminder that Christmas is about God with us!
For youth/adults: Worry has been a primary human emotion for thousands of years. It seems that we are wired to worry about anything and everything. Some worry is good and healthy as it can keep us safe but often our worry goes overboard. Paul and the community at Philippi were not immune from worry. Paul is reminding them (and us!) that worry can crowd out our rejoicing and to offer all of daily lives, each part, to God. What is worrying you today? What brings you peace in the midst of worry? When you find yourself worrying about circumstances you can’t control, write down the worry, (paper, phone or computer) and say a prayer of thanksgiving that God is with us always.
“Let you gentleness be known to everyone.” God is gentle and loving with us and we want to show the world God’s gentleness. When someone cuts you off in traffic, in line at the store, or is rude to you, offer them a prayer of grace. When you do those same actions (as we all do!), offer yourself a prayer of grace as well! For younger children, have a small jar in a prominent place where each time someone (adults too) in the household is gentle, kind, and showing God’s love, a coin (pick which denomination works for you) can go in the jar. At the end of the month, as a household, chose a place to donate the coins. (You can have the children decorate the jar or container if you would like and keep this project going.)
New this year! Pastor Leta wrote these devotions for her congregation and wanted to make them available to all our friends who use Faith Formation Journeys. Download them here and enjoy them with you congregations and families!
For children: When was a time that you were afraid? Who was with you? Did having someone with you make you feel better? If you were alone, who did you wish was with you? Did you know that God is with you always? Even if we’re afraid, alone, worried or feeling bad. Jesus promises to be with us always just like he came to be with Thomas and to tell Thomas that he would never leave him!
For youth/adults: What does it mean to be at peace? When have you felt at peace? How can we share this peace that comes from God with others? Is it words, actions, attitudes?
Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Jesus met Thomas in his “doubt,” his wondering, his questions so that Thomas could grow in faith. Our faith is like that too-a journey. When we wonder or question, we explore God in our lives, define and articulate more clearly what we do believe and are able to share that with others. Doubt is how we deepen our faith! What do you wonder about God?
Write a note to someone telling and thanking them for the ways that they showed Christ to you in your life. Think of one way to show the love and peace of Christ to someone at work, school or other places.
You give us your peace to spread that peace all through your world. You reveal Christ to us in so many ways and we know that we are called to be part of that revelation. Be with those who are in distress, who are lonely, who are worried or afraid. May we be your peace to them. In the name of you son Jesus, who is with us always, amen.
For children: Have you ever seen a plant grow? Did you know that the seed that plants come from are technically dead? Seeds come from live plants and they are part of the plant that dies. Just left in the package all by themselves, nothing happens to them. But when they are given soil, water and sunlight what happens to them? They grow! But part of the plant had to die first. Jesus tells us that in order for us to grow sometimes we have to let another part of ourselves go. We might have to not always be first, or keep a toy to ourselves or help when we don’t feel like it. That’s what Jesus means by “losing your life” he means to think about other people first and you will change like the seed changes into a plant!
For youth/adults: When have you heard the voice of God in your life? Did you know that it was God right away or did you only recognize it afterwards? We might be a little squeamish about admitting that we have heard God’s voice as we can sound a bit unstable to the rest of the world, but God does still speak to us. Jesus even said that God spoke to the crowds not for Jesus’ sake but for them. God never leaves us alone and is always with us. Listen for God in your life today.
Another part of our Bible passage has to do with Jesus drawing all people to himself. We tend to think of Jesus dying on the cross about each of us individually, but what does it mean for us all to be caught up in Jesus arms? How does that change how you view your neighbor or coworker if they too are drawn to Jesus by Jesus? How do we treat each other differently if that were the case?
Find a bulb/seed and begin to grow a spring plant. When the plant is about ready to bloom, give it away to someone who could use the message of new life. Decorate the pot with symbols of spring and Easter. Write a card that prays for them to know the new life that God offers us all.
God of life, your voice still speaks to us, open our ears to hear you and our eyes to see your work in the world. May the new life that grows in us be shared with your world. May our whole lives serve you and your creation. In the name of your son who draws us all to him, Jesus, amen.
For adults and young children alike, it’s easy to think that all we have to do is pray and Jesus will heal us of everything that ails us: the flu, a cold, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, loneliness, etc. Reality is that we live in a world where bodies still get sick and die but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t hear our prayers and isn’t with us! The good news is that God’s promise is for life for us forever with God and God is with us in the pain and sorrow of the reality of disease and broken bodies in this life. As a community we also support, love and pray for each other as well as point out where God is at work when we can’t recognize it ourselves. Be sure with young children to emphasize God’s presence with them.
For children: What do you pray or talk to God about? Do you ever pray by yourself? God wants us to talk to God always! There is not anything that God isn’t ready to hear! How can you show God’s love to others? Do you think when we help someone, give a hug, offer nice words or draw a picture for them that we can make someone feel better if they are sad, sick or hurt?
For youth/adults: Where/when do you most often pray? Do you have a standard prayer, do you simply speak to God or do you sit in silence with God? People in our world are searching for something. We are all searching for happiness, joy, love, security, belonging, self-worth and the list goes on and on. In the Mark 1 story the disciples tell Jesus when he goes to a deserted place to pray that people are searching for him. The good news is that Jesus comes to us and searches for us. Jesus is always there. How can we reveal Jesus’ presence of love, hope, forgiveness and mercy in the world that is so desperately searching for those things? How do we use shopping, food, alcohol and other ways to fill our searching with what only God can offer us?
Pray for one another’s troubles and joys today. Offer prayers for all people to know that Jesus is with them and loves them. Pray to be filled with the love and compassion of Jesus for those who do not have enough to eat, adequate shelter, are lonely or are in need of healing in any way today.
In our Growing In Faith Together-Sunday School for All on February 15th we will be putting together Blessing Bags to keep in your car to hand out to those in need that you may come across in your day. We are collecting the following items: gallon size zip lock bags, juice pouches, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, non-perishable snacks, feminine hygiene products, tissues. We will also be making note cards with an encouraging message to go into the bags. As a household collect those items and make a few notes for the bags.
Luke 1: 26-38: Read this out loud together. For younger families, this story can be found in the Spark Storybook Bible on page 196 or in the Jesus Storybook Bible beginning on page 176-179. Younger children may want to act out the story or be one of the different voices as the story is read.
: for children: Did you ever do something really hard? What was it? Did someone ask you to do it (like a parent or a teacher) or did you want to do this thing yourself? Did you do it? Were you surprised that you could do it? Mary was asked to do this hard thing-having a baby is not easy! But she knew that God was with her and that with God, anything is possible. God can surprise us all the time! Look for God to surprise you with God’s love today!
For youth/adults: I am always surprised by Mary’s calm and sure response to Gabriel’s announcement about this impossible and scary thing about to happen to her. Mary was willing to give her whole life to what God was doing in the world-bringing salvation and eternal life. What do you think is impossible to do in the world? (Eradicate hunger, poverty, violence, etc.?) What do you think would change (or could change) about these huge issues if we all responded to God’s call to participation like Mary? What would a first step, that you could actually take, be towards something that the world needs and perhaps God calling you for participation in?
For Christmas this year, do an “alternative giving” option with friends and family. Give donations in honor of family members and give a simple handmade gift (such as an ornament, something you have knit, sewed, carved, created or a homemade card) with a note explaining the donation instead. One possibility is the ELCA Good Gifts Program. Follow the link here: http://www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-Good-Gifts
One simple idea to say “Here I am!” to the things God is doing in the world!
God of all possibilities, open our eyes and our hearts to follow you into hard and what might seem like impossible places. We pray for all your love and grace to flow through us to your world. May we always remember that with you, nothing is impossible. We pray this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.