Sabbath Revisit

Note: You will need a pitcher of water and a large bowl for the remainder of this week.
Tonight, you will need cups of water for each participant.

Introduction for tonight:
In recognition of the Sabbath, Saturday evenings are a night for rest. Therefore, the devotion for tonight will be a repeat from earlier in the week. We have chosen the practice or the text that we feel is the most significant or life-giving. Repetition helps solidify things in our brains! 
We also hope Saturdays and Sundays will be easier for parents/facilitators, since it’s already been followed, once. If another practice was more rich for your family, please feel free to go back and repeat whatever devotion suits you best.
Alternatively, this can be an evening during which you share a devotion from a night that you might have missed earlier in the week.

This week, we’ve chosen the devotion from Monday:

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 or say together, [Christ] is my Song1

[Christ] is my song, [Christ] is my praise: all my hope comes from God.
[Christ] is my song, [Christ] is my praise: God, the well-spring of life.

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 quarrelled with or tested God, 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 quarreling and testing 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:

Think about a time during which you did not get what you wanted or needed. Allow a pause to think. What feelings did you have when you did not get what you wanted or needed? Allow a pause. 

In the text for tonight, the people were in the wilderness. They were in the wilderness for a long time and were led there by God. One really important need for our human bodies to work, is water. God’s people did not have any water to drink and they were thirsty. The people were questioning whether or not they could trust God, they were frustrated, and even began to argue with God.

God then brought Moses to a rock, asked Moses to hit the rock with his staff, water began to gush from the rock, and the people were able to drink water. It was hard for the people to trust in God’s promises, especially when there was a lack of resources. Sometimes, it is hard for us to trust in God’s promises as well. What we can learn from this story is that even though we live in a world filled with brokenness and a lack of resources, God is bigger than that brokenness and that God’s work (and our work) is a constant movement toward justice for all of God’s people. 


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

A reading from Exodus 17:1-7 (MSG)2
1-2 Directed by God, the whole company of Israel moved on by stages from the Wilderness of Sin. They set camp at Rephidim. And there wasn’t a drop of water for the people to drink. The people took Moses to task: “Give us water to drink.” But Moses said, “Why pester me? Why are you testing God?”
3 But the people were thirsty for water there. They complained to Moses, “Why did you take us from Egypt and drag us out here with our children and animals to die of thirst?”
4 Moses cried out in prayer to God, “What can I do with these people? Any minute now they’ll kill me!”
5-6 God said to Moses, “Go on out ahead of the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel. Take the staff you used to strike the Nile. And go. I’m going to be present before you there on the rock at Horeb. You are to strike the rock. Water will gush out of it and the people will drink.”
6-7 Moses did what he said, with the elders of Israel right there watching. He named the place Massah (Testing-Place) and Meribah (Quarreling) because of the quarreling of the Israelites and because of their testing of God when they said, “Is God here with us, or not?”


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:
*What feelings did you have when you thought about not getting the things you wanted or needed?
*Have you ever quarreled with God? What about?
*Who do you trust to help provide for your daily needs?
*What do you think about the people in the Bible story for tonight and their distrust?


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

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:

Imagine a time when you felt very thirsty. 

Focus on the feeling of need.
Pause for a minute

Everyone take your cup of water and hold it in your hand. 

Focus on the life-giving nature of the water.

Pause

Everyone take a drink from your water, slowly. 

Pay attention to how the water feels in your mouth. Focus on the quenching of your thirst. Imagine the water going throughout your body and nourishing all of your organs.

Pause for a minute

Take a moment to feel thankful to God for this nourishment.

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 word cloud or collage describing what you saw in/with/around the water.
*Draw a picture of how God was with you, today.
*Create a poem about how God was present with you in the water.
*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 or said, 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 or say, [Christ] is my Song1

[Christ] is my song, [Christ] is my praise: all my hope comes from God.
[Christ] is my song, [Christ] is my praise: God, the well-spring of life.

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: #751.
THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Found on Bible Gateway; accessed 03.06.20.

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