You may have noticed over the time you’ve been coming to South Church, that Rev. Chris and Rev. Lauren write their sermons around a theme each month. In fact they follow a multi-year calendar of themes, which guides discussions in the worship team, and is represented in many ways during Sunday worship in the sanctuary.
This year, we are beginning to embark on finding ways to reflect that discussion in our Religious Education program as well. Imagine, if a conversation in our sanctuary was also happening in our classrooms, and at social hour. Imagine, if we could share thoughts and insights from worship with our children and they could relate their own experience from a classroom conversation, or a social hour chat. Theme based ministry can be a really dynamic and effective way to create connection across generations and throughout the fabric of our congregation. It can be lifted up into our small group ministries, committees, and even at our kitchen tables.
I would like to challenge our families to think about opportunities to hold up our experiences at South Church on Sunday as we navigate a crazy busy full lives. It does not need to take a lot of time~ just small moments where you pause and reflect, or connect a dot to real time.
November’s theme of Grace is a perfect place to start. It is certainly a complicated word, Grace, but in it’s essence there is this notion of giving pause. In many ways, that is what I am suggesting in this challenge, to stop and give pause, to reflect, to find grace in the moments of life.
Here are a few ideas about how you might deepen your family’s reflections on grace. There are countless other ways to do so, feel free to grab an idea here, or share your own! We have a worship theme bulletin in the Social Hall where you can share thoughts and ideas.
For all (adults and young): this month I offer you this quote from May Sarton, which I love. Perhaps you can find some moment to dig your hands into the dirt, slow down, breathe in the earth.
- Go see the movie: He Named Me Malala (at the Music Hall Nov 17-20th). Without a doubt, Malala demonstrates grace in countless ways, reflecting on how might be a great way to frame this inspiring story.
- Music often reaches our teens in deep ways, another idea might be to ask your teen to share a song that embodies the idea of grace. Listen to it together, and see if you can hear it, too.
Upper Elementary-Middle school kids: Explore the story of Misty Copeland- watch some of her dancing and news documentaries on youTube.. so much grace in form, and grace in facing challenges! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHJoQw9xuU8
Children (and the whole family): Consider being intentional about saying grace before meals. Have a conversation about how that slows us down, and inspires reflection. What is the difference between a meal that starts with intention and one that begins without pause? Here are a few ideas for a table grace:
Oh, we give thanks for fruit and grain, For earth and air and sun and rain, For those with feathers, fur or feet Who make it so that we may eat.
Cherished family, friends, and guests,
Let this food to us be blessed.
Bless those people who made this food.
May it feed our work for good.
[Hold hands around the table.]
Say: “Let us have a moment of silence to give thanks for the food we eat.”
15 – 20 seconds of silence is about right.
[Hold hands around the table.]
Ask everyone at the table to say one thing he or she is thankful for that day.
Employ grace when reflecting on conflict: There is something in this complicated idea of grace that connects to the ability to let go and move forward. Imagine finding a way to name that process with our children, or even to model it in a more overt way. An example might be: In a moment where a fight between siblings resolves and they are then able to return to loving play, perhaps you can point out the grace of that choice, naming it for your kids. I read about another example: A mother deciding to wave a punishment, instead choosing to walk for ice cream with her child and explaining that choice as a lesson in grace. We as people take missteps so often, and being able to continue forward loving ourselves and one another in spite of our many mistakes is certainly grace in action.
Share what you learn! Sending love to you all!