Water's Song

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, [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:


Tonight the Psalmist (the person who wrote the song we read) remembers the Israelites testing and quarreling with God at Meribah and Massah (the story we read last night) - and that this does not go well for the people!
Apparently, when this song was written, the Israelites were starting to stray from God again: the writer wonders why the people won’t or can’t listen to God’s voice and follow.
So the Psalmist uses this song to remind people that God does not like for us to stray: not because of how it affects God (though it must be frustrating and make God sad), but because when we walk away from God, that’s when all sorts of painful things happen to us.
This makes sense: when we go away from our source of life, love, joy and peace, we can only wander into places with less life, love, joy and peace.
So, the Psalmist also reminds the singers of the song (us) that God is the Creator of the whole world; God is the Source of all that is good and wonderful and beautiful in the world: including all of the best within each and all of us (individually and together).
When we return to God in singing, prayer, worship, listening and openness to following God’s lead, we find our True Selves and a whole new more wonderful life.

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


A reading from Psalm 952
95:1 Come, let us sing joyfully to God!
Raise a shout to our rock, our deliverance!
95:2 Let us come into God’s presence with thanksgiving; and sing our praises with joy.
95:3 For YHWH is a great God,
the great Ruler, above all gods.
95:4 O God, in your hands are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks are yours.
95:5 Yours is the sea, for you made it,
the dry land as well, for your hands formed it.
95:6 Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before YHWH, our Maker.
95:7 For you are our God,
and we are the people you shepherd,
The flock under your care.
If only you would hear God’s voice today!
95:8 “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the days of Massah in the desert,
95:9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tested me even though
they had seen my works.
95:10 For forty years that generation provoked me,
until I said, ‘The hearts of these people go astray,
and they do not know my ways.’
95:11 Then I took an oath in anger:
‘They will never come to my place of rest.’”


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:
*Does it help you feel closer to God or want to live more closely to God to remember
that God formed the entire world/galaxy/universe/multiverse?
*What does it mean to “hear God’s voice”?
*When do you feel like you are listening to God’s voice most carefully?


CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE
From your devotional basket, please take the following items:
~Notebook or binder for everyone
~Drawing or coloring utensil(s) for everyone
~Pitcher or large, pourable vessel filled with water
~Large bowl sufficient to hold at least most of the water in the pitcher


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 I 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:


Tonight we listen for God’s voice.
As we pour the water into the bowl, listen for God:
What is God saying to you?
Is God whispering through the water’s song?


Pause as about ⅓ of the water is poured in the bowl.
This can be done by an adult or, depending upon the size/weight of the pitcher/jar, by a child.
Pour very slowly! Let this moment draw out.


Pause for about one minute.


Listen again for the water’s song.
It may sound different now that there is water in the bowl.
It may sound the same to you.
Notice even the slightest variations in sound. Hear them as a song.
What is God whispering to you in the water’s song?


In the silence, pour another ⅓ of the water into the bowl.
Pour very slowly! Let this moment draw out.


Pause for about one minute.


Listen again for the water’s song.
It may sound different now that there is more water in the bowl.
It may sound the same to you.
Do you hear words? Or feelings? New ideas or thoughts?
Are there emotions in the water’s song?
What is God whispering to you in the water’s song?


In the silence, pour the final third of the water into the bowl.
Pour very slowly! Let this moment draw out.


Pause for about two minutes.


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 
in this time. 
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 heard 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.
  2. From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.

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