Goin' on a Journey

CREATE A SACRED TIME AND SPACE
Leave all screens turned off and outside of the gathering space/room.
Set a single candle in the center of your space or on a child’s nightstand or headboard.

As you light the candle, you might sing together the refrain of, Send Me, Jesus1

Send me, Jesus; send me, Jesus;
Send me, Jesus, into the world.

TAKE A MOMENT
This is a time to become fully present with one another and with God.
Invite everyone to take a deep breath in and exhale fully.
Repeat this deep breathing for about 20 seconds, everyone at their own pace.

LET GO & RECEIVE
Excitement over past or future events - or, worries, pain and/or guilt - can keep us from immersing in God’s loving Presence, right here and now.

You might invite participants to Let Go as follows:

“In one or two words, how have you not followed the Spirit’s lead, today?
Allow time for a response from each individual.
Breathe in: know that you are, right now, being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Breathe out: release into grace any guilt, shame or pain not following has caused.”

Pause

You might invite participants to Receive Grace as follows:

“How have you followed the Spirit’s lead, today?
Allow time for a response from each individual.
Breathe in: notice how the Spirit is as close to you as your breath.
Breathe out: thank God for filling you with what you need for each day.”

Pause


READING SUMMARY
Before moving on, take two more deep breaths.

Then share a summary of this evening’s text. Using your own words is strongly encouraged. If that feels uncomfortable or overwhelming, or if you would like a young person to lead this portion, here are some thoughts on this story:

God asks Abram and Sarai to leave everything they know: the people they have lived 
with and loved for 75 years; the places where all of their sad, happy and meaningful memories took place. Everything they have known, God asks them to leave behind.
And they do it!
We might think that God’s big promise was a trick to entice them to do what God said. 
But it might be the other way around: maybe God knows that if they leave, great things 
will happen!
Either way, Abram and Sarai leave and eventually God’s promise comes true: lots and 
lots of people around the world are blessed by being a part of Abram’s and Sarai’s 
spiritual family.
It’s helpful - as we begin our Lenten journey and as we continue our spiritual journeys - 
to know that the promised outcome doesn’t mean everything along the way will be 
simple, easy or joyful. Abram and Sarai face a lot of challenges on their trip. We will, 
too - this Lent and on any given day.
Lent is a way to practice trusting God even when things don’t go as smoothly as we’d 
like. But ultimately - and along the way - God was with Abram and Sarai through the 
tough times - and is with us; and God blesses them to be a blessing to millions and 
millions of people - and God blesses us, too!


SHARING THE READING
Readings can be shared around the circle by verse, or a different reader can lead each night.

A reading from Genesis 12:1-4a2
12:1 YHWH said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people, and the home of your 
parents, and go to a place I will show you.
12:2 I will make of you a great people. I will bless you and make your name so great 
that it will be used in blessings.
12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you. And all the 
people on the face of the earth will be blessed through you."
12:4a Abram, who was 75 years old when he left Haran, began the journey as YHWH 
had instructed.


DISCUSS
At the close of the reading you might begin with basic questions, such as:
Did this reading have any words or ideas that anyone doesn’t understand?
Let’s explore what those might mean, together.

If you are ready for further discussion, you might consider these questions:

  • Has God (or a trusted adult) ever asked you to leave something behind or jump into something new?
  • How did this feel? Were you scared; excited; nervous; hopeful? Can you describe the “journey”?
  • Do you know anyone who has had to leave a place and/or people they love in order to find a place where they could be blessed and be a blessing?
  • Does learning about God’s promise to Sarai and Abram help us bless other people who have had to take a similar journey?


CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE
From your devotional basket, please take the following items:
~Notebook or binder for everyone
~Drawing or coloring utensil(s) for everyone

Be sure notebooks/binders and utensils are handy but not a distraction.
You might invite the group into prayer with these or similar prompts:

I invite everyone to find a comfortable posture appropriate to prayer and encourage everyone to close their eyes.

Allow a few beats for the movement to settle down.

Let’s all take a few deep breaths to settle our minds:
~let go of the discussion questions and conversation;
~let go of the Bible story;
~let yourself rest for a moment in the love of your family and the presence of
God.

After a few deep breaths, share the following:

Make a picture in your mind of your safe place:
any place where you feel loved, respected, honored, blessed.
See yourself in the place where you feel most comfortable.

Pause

Who is in your safe place? 
In your image, surround yourself with the people who love you and who you love most.

Pause

Let yourself feel this comfort and happiness and love and safety for a moment.

Pause for about a minute.

Now imagine leaving on a trip:
Imagine yourself walking away from the familiar space, out into something brand new.
Imagine yourself leaving behind the people around you.
Imagine yourself leaving behind this place where you are comfortable.
For the next couple of minutes of silence, imagine walking away from everything 
familiar.

Pause for about a minute.

Notice how you feel as you walk away:
Are you excited?
Afraid?
Nervous?
Hopeful?
Pay attention to how you are feeling. Let yourself feel it.

Pause for a long moment.

Help yourself connect a word or two to that feeling.
Remember that God is with you always.
Does this change how you feel?
Notice how you feel, walking away from the familiar, but knowing you are not alone, 
that God is with you.

Pause for a long moment.

Listen to your body, to your emotions, to God…

Allow about four minutes of silent contemplation before moving on.

At the end of your silent time, invite attention back to the room with words like these:

I invite you to return your awareness to this place.
You might wiggle your toes and fingers or gently roll your shoulders or your head.
Slowly bring your body and mind back to here and now, and rest for a moment.

Resting is important: the transition from silence to immediate action or thought can be very jarring. Let the movement from rest to engagement be gentle.

PERSONAL REFLECTION
After a few beats, while people are still transitioning, introduce the reflection questions, as follows:

As we bring our awareness back to here and now, let’s consider how God was with us: 
Reflect on a thought or feeling that seemed powerful or meaningful to you.
Where or in what way did you experience God in this time?

After a moment or two of resting, encourage people to write, draw or doodle about their experience.
You might offer the following journal prompts:
*Create a cloud or collage of words describing your emotions: while “in” your safe 
space, or when leaving or outside of your safe place
*Draw a picture of your safe place
*Draw a picture of the new place your envisioned (if you had such a vision)
*Create a poem of where God might be leading you, outside your safe place
*Or a simple reflective journal that includes any significant thoughts, ideas or emotions 
that emerged during this practice.

Allow about 3-5 minutes; gauge the activity-level of participants to determine when they are “done”.
Invite people to share their reflections with the group/family, only as they are comfortable. Not everyone will have something to share or feel comfortable sharing their experience. Let this be okay: not everyone needs to share.

Listen carefully to one another.
Acknowledge each sharing with words of affirmation.
Discussion can and should be about curiosity, clarity and/or affirmation.
This is not a time for correction or psycho-analyzing experiences.

BEDTIME SONG
As the following song is sung, the Leader should gather all materials utilized during the practice. Stow them in the basket for easy removal and future use.

As adults prepare to leave the room, you might sing, Send Me, Jesus1

Send me, Jesus; send me, Jesus;
Send me, Jesus, into the world.

FINAL BLESSING
As they blow out the candle, children can offer the following blessing/prayer with their adults:
“I love you and I know you love me; let’s always be gentle with each other.”

Adult(s) can share the following blessing/prayer with the child[ren] as they turn out the lights:
“I love you and I know you love me; let’s always be gentle with each other.”






  1. Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Augsburg Fortress; 2006: #549.
  2.   From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.

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