Trust and Comfort

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:

Tonight’s Psalm (remember, a psalm is a poem or a song, usually written specifically 
for a religious use) is one we might call a “lament”. That’s not a very familiar word to 
many of us: a “lament” is an expression of deep grief or sorrow.
In this particular lament, the Psalmist (that’s the person who wrote the Psalm), prays 
for God to be gracious, to be kind and helpful in the face of the physical suffering and 
feelings of separation, abandonment, and even conspiracy he/she/they are experiencing. The Psalmist is praying to God in a time of isolation.
But the end of the Psalm is not grief, sorrow, or despair or even sadness. The Psalm 
ends with words of trust and hope.
Despite feelings of being alone, feelings of being shunned, the Psalmist believes that 
their “times are in God’s hands”: that God is ultimately in control and will work to “save”; that God’s steadfast love will result in healing and a return to right relationships with neighbors and the community.


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

A reading from Psalm 31:9-162
9 Be gracious to me, O [YHWH], for I am in distress;
   my eye wastes away from grief,
   my soul and body also. 
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
   and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
   and my bones waste away. 

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
   a horror to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   those who see me in the street flee from me. 
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
   I have become like a broken vessel. 
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
   terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
   as they plot to take my life. 

14 But I trust in you, O [Holy One];
   I say, ‘You are my God.’ 
15 My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
   save me in your steadfast love.


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:
*Have you ever felt isolated, abandoned, or not in a “right relationship” with your 
neighbors, friends or community? A “right relationship” is one where there is justice and equity, mutual respect and understanding, and basic human kindness.
*What do you think about trusting in God to save, even when things aren’t going well? 
Does it make sense to you that God wants our trust, even if everyone else seems to have abandoned us and everything else seems to be going haywire?
*Remember, that “save” in the Bible often means “heal” or “deliver”. Have you ever 
noticed that God has healed or delivered you in an unusual way?


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:
Notice your breath.
Notice each inhale… and exhale.

Pause
Notice your breath.
Notice how your body automatically inhales…

...
…and exhales.
Whether you think about it or not.
Notice how your body automatically takes care of your most basic need, without you 
asking or thinking or doing it right or even knowing, sometimes.

Pause
Notice each breath.
Notice how it feels to know that your body will continue to breathe, no matter whether 
you are awake and noticing, or whether you are asleep.
Pay attention to how comforting it feels to know that your body will keep on breathing 
whether you ask it to, or not; whether your brain consciously tells it to, or not.
Pay attention to how it feels to trust your body to continue breathing.

Pause

Focus on that feeling of trust and the comfort that comes with it for a few minutes

Pause for a minute or two.

Open yourself to the awareness that God is even more reliable than your breath.

Pause

Let that feeling of trust and comfort sink in and go deeper; let it be more real.
Let yourself equate a deep feeling of trust and comfort with God’s love for you.

Pause for two to three 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?

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. THE HOLY BIBLE, (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Found on Oremus Bible Browser; accessed 03.28.20.

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