Faith -at- Home / Easter 4
Have you ever been converted? To a stream of faith, or a new way of thinking, a new pattern of eating, or a different political stance? What did that season of conversion feel like? What do you remember most? In retrospect, can you see the movement of the Holy Spirit within that process?
Adult to Small Child
Read: Acts 8:29-31.
Reflect: The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 is a story of friendship. Each person offers something to the other and together they sit as a team looking at the scriptures together. We are not meant to journey alone. This story invites us to see our spiritual growth as an opportunity to sit alongside others and study scripture together as a team.
Respond: How might you share the gift of your faith with a friend this week? Encourage children to invite a friend to church this week, or invite someone who hasn’t been to church in awhile to join you on your journey. Consider how a friend who has not been to church before might experience it. What can you do to make your friend feel comfortable and welcome? How can you learn from one another?
Adult to Elementary Child
Read: Acts 9:36-43.
Reflect: Here is another first from Acts: a woman is described as a disciple. In fact, this is the only time in the Christian New Testament that the feminine form of the word disciple is used, and it’s used to describe Tabitha (we are told her name is Dorcas in Greek). Luke says that “her life overflowed with good works and compassionate acts on behalf of those in need.” After a short illness, she died, and Peter, who was in a town nearby, was asked to come right away. All the widows whom Tabitha cared for followed him into the bedroom where Tabitha was, “crying as they showed him the tunics and other clothing she had made when she was alive.” Peter sends them from the room, and then does something extraordinary: he raises Tabitha from the dead, not to show his own power but to show God’s power at work in him, and to show that God’s work of caring for the widows, the ones most in need in that community, would continue, even in Tabitha.
Respond: Like Tabitha, God is at work in us, too. Tabitha was known especially for the clothing she made for those in need. Here is a simple no-sew way to make a soft fleece blanket for a baby or child in need of comfort and warmth: http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/bhf/make-no-sew-b...
Adult to Youth or Young Adult
Read: Acts 9.
Reflect: In Acts 9, we read the story of Saul. Saul had persecuted Christians, but became a Jesus follower after hearing God’s voice and being visited by Ananias. The idea of “conversion” is an important one in the book of Acts, and Saul’s conversion is one of the most significant stories in the New Testament. For most of us, our conversion to Christianity is not so dramatic. Instead, Christianity may have been a part of our whole lives. Even then, you have certainly had some type of conversion experiences in your life.
Respond: On a sheet of paper, draw three columns. At the top of the first two columns, write “I once was…” and “Now I am…” Think about what you were like when you were a baby or a child. How are you different now? Make a list of things that have changed, like “I once was not able to feed myself,” and “Now I am able to drive myself to a restaurant!” At the top of the third column, write “I hope I will be…” This is a place to write a list of the things you hope will change about you in the future. You might write “I hope I will be a college graduate,” or “I hope I will be generous to others.” Take time to pray for God’s work in your life so that you, like Saul/Paul, are constantly growing into more of what God has created you to be.
Adult to Adult
Read: Acts 7:1-60.
Reflect: Stephen begins by telling the story of his ancestors, but then accuses the religious scholars, the Sanhedrin, of orchestrating the death of the righteous One, Jesus. Overcome with anger, the Sanhedrin drag Stephen out of the city and stone him to death. As shown in this chapter, storytellers have always held immense power. With each unique story entrusted to us to live out, God’s creativity goes beyond what we can imagine for ourselves. Perhaps this poem will inspire you to write a story or poem of your own. Glean from the scriptures a revolutionary way of telling your own story.
Stephen, brilliant as angels,
told deaf people of
Moses and ancestors.
On the ground he stood,
was buried ancient wisdom
and tree trunk roots
like family lineages,
crisscrossing in elegant
dance, preservers of water,
sandal prints of Moses’ feet
where journey and redemption
coiled through what nature
and Holy Spirit made.
Stephen folded his story
in the folds of his robe
no matter the cost--
good and faithful servant.
You may feel like telling others about who you are and where you’re from is not very exciting, but because of whose you are and how you’re connected to Jesus through compassion and serving, God’s bold fingerprint is visible in you.
Respond: In ten lines or less, write the story of Jesus and how it relates to you. Share with a friend or family member. Like Stephen, when you share your story as it relates to Jesus, you spread the Good News. This is how we make disciples out of nations.
About our Contributors
Traci Smith is pastor of Northwood Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, TX, and the author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home. She is mama to four littles and lives with them and her husband, Elias Cabarcas, in their bilingual/bicultural home in San Antonio, TX. You can connect with her at www.traci-smith.com.
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros is a Tejana poet, freelance writer, and speaker. Her work focuses on faith and Latinidad and has appeared in On Being, SheLoves Magazine, Rock & Sling, and more. She has forthcoming work in Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity, Christianity Today, and more. She keeps a blog at cisneroscafe.org.
Rev. Melissa Cooper is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She is an Associate with Vibrant Faith, providing ministry coaching services in the area of intergenerational ministry, cross-generational communication, and camp and retreat ministry. Melissa also writes curriculum for children and youth. Melissa lives in central Florida with her husband, Will, and they are the parents to the cutest poodle you’ll ever meet. You can find her online at www.revmelissacooper.com.
Wendy Claire Barrie is a Christian educator who has served seven Episcopal parishes on both coasts since 1989. She is the author of Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents (Church Publishing 2016). She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, Phil Fox Rose, and her son, Peter, and works and worships at Trinity Church Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
Faith-at-Home Project Developer, Author, Formation Evangelist, Resource Curator
Jerusalem lives with family in rural Arkansas. She a minister, speaker, and formation consultant. She is also the author of At Home in this Life and A Homemade Year. Learn more about her at jerusalemgreer.com