Set Your Worries Down: Revisited

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 Tuesday



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 the call and response song, This Is the Day1
Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
Leader: That our God has made…
Others: (That our God has made…)
Leader: Let us rejoice…
Others: (Let us rejoice…)
Leader: And be glad in it.
Others: (And be glad in it.)

All: This is the day that our God has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
All: That our God… has… made!



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 been living like someone asleep, with the covers 
still over your head?”

Allow time for a response from each individual.

Breathe in: know that you are, right now, being filled with the Holy Spirit and the light of God.
Breathe out: release into grace any guilt, shame or pain caused by letting your ego be your guide, today.

Pause

You might invite participants to Receive Grace as follows:

“How have you lived fully awake, 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 opening your eyes and ears and heart 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:

The Psalm for tonight starts out with thanks: thanks to God for endless love, for “salvation” (which in the Bible usually is the same thing as “healing” or maybe “restoring to a good or healthy place in society”; tonight, it probably means that: restoring to a good and healthy place in relationship to other people).
Then the Psalm starts begging God for help: help with salvation and with “prosperity” or financial, material well-being.
Then it goes back to thanks: thanks for endless love and salvation.
This is a common theme in the Psalms and elsewhere in the Bible: remembering all the good that God has done in the past, then asking for what is needed now.
This helps us trust that God’s goodness will be enough and what we need to see us through whatever challenges arise: God has been our helper in the past; God will help us again, now.
Remembering God’s past goodness helps us look forward with trust and hope.


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

A reading from Psalm 118:1-2, 19-292

1I thank you, YHWH, for your goodness!
Your love is everlasting!
2Let Israel say it:
“Your love is everlasting!”

19Open the gates of justice for me,
let me come in and thank you, YHWH!
20This is the gate of YHWH,
and only the upright can enter!
21Thank you for hearing me,
for saving me.
22It was the stone which the builders rejected
that became the keystone;
23this is YHWH’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
24This is the day YHWH has made -
let us celebrate with joy!

25Please, YHWH, please save us!
Please, YHWH, give us prosperity now!
26Blessings on the one who comes in the Name of YHWH!
We bless you from YHWH’s Temple!
27YHWH is God
and God has enlightened us.
Join the festal procession!
With palm fronds in hand,
go up to the horns of the altar!
28You are my God, and I thank you;
you are my God, and I exalt you.
Thank you for hearing me,
for saving me.
29Thank you, YHWH, for your goodness!
Your love is everlasting!


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:
*Remember a time when God helped you, your family, your congregation or your 
community. What did that help look and feel like? Discuss.
*Is there a reason to look for God’s help, right now? For what? What would God’s help 
look like, to you?
*What if God’s help doesn’t look the way you expect or would like it to? Does that
affect whether or not you trust God?


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 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:
Continue to focus on the breath as we look for God’s help.
Remember a way that God has helped you, or our family, or our loved ones in the 
past.
Draw an image in your mind of what God’s help looked or felt like.
Focus on that feeling of receiving help from God for a few moments of silence.

Pause for a minute or two - however long your family is comfortable.

Let yourself rest for a few moments in that feeling of security and reassurance, that 
God wants always to be our help, our Healer and Savior, in times of struggle, 
uncertainty and suffering.

Pause for another minute or two, resting in God’s healing Presence.

Consider now something that is troubling you:
what is happening in your life, in your family or community, that needs God’s 
help.
Focus on this troubling reality for a few minutes.
Don’t be afraid to feel your worry or 
anxiety, the pain that is caused by this challenge.

Pause for a minute or two.

Now place this struggle in front of God.
See yourself holding this weight -
whatever is concerning you and causing you to worry -
see yourself holding it up to God.
Hold this concern before for a few moments.

Pause for another minute or two.

Allow yourself now to set that worry before God; let it go.
And allow yourself to remember the feeling of God’s healing and comfort.
Rest in that feeling of comfort and hope for a moment or two.


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?

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 the call and response song, This Is the Day1
Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
Leader: That our God has made…
Others: (That our God has made…)
Leader: Let us rejoice…
Others: (Let us rejoice…)
Leader: And be glad in it.
Others: (And be glad in it.)

All: This is the day that our God has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
All: That our God… has… made!



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. We remember this song from our youth and searched for copyright/author/composer info, to no avail. Please share if you know who deserves the credit!
  2. From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.

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