REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S RCL READINGS FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY IN LENT

This 4thSunday of Lent is an abundance of RCL (Revised Common Lectionary) readings that are wonderful for Intergenerational faith formation, or children and family ministry.

 

So why Intergenerational Faith Formation, because these readings can easily be understood by all making them easily fit the definition “spirit of God is at work formatively-through the community’s worship, through the teaching, modelling and mentoring relationships, and through spiritually empowered and gifted roles –in special and unique ways when believers across the lifespan are present and participating together” [1]

And why Child and Family Ministry, because it is ministry to families especially where children are 18 years of age or younger, which includes equipping them to live out their faith with their children, which is important because faith formation infamilies has been shown to have the largest, and lengthiest influence.[2]

 

Of this week’s readings, the most obvious is the Gospel Reading, from Luke 15:11-32, often labelled as the Prodigal son story. This story can be interpreted in many ways and from many perspectives, it can be understood by the most literal of learner, and dissected by the most academic of minds.

 

I find it interesting during my own reflection on this reading that this year I am thinking of the piece from the viewpoint of none of the mentioned players but wonder what would the women in the family have been seeing in the story. Until now I had related to the oldest son, even though I’m female. I relate as the eldest, my younger siblings arriving and making greater demands on my parents. My feelings of jealously are expressed and possibly vindicated in this story. I then reflect not from my perspective as a Christian that came to Christ as a child, I see my confusion when others are embraced back into the worshipping community who have not stayed true to the faith. Have I been taken advantage of by my faith community? As I plodded on with my studies believing in a misdirected idea of “call”, I have watched others newer to the race find “callings” while I have not. Yes, I see a message in this story for this situation too. I am also understanding the theological depths of God’s love and Kingdom, as we bring to being God’s Kingdom on earth.

I’m sharing my thoughts on this passage, not just as a faith journal diary viewpoint but to express how intense this passage can be for one person, imagine this played out for many worshipping or sharing together.

 

How wonderful it is to be introduced to the notion that this passage can last a lifetime, that each 3rdyear we get an opportunity to revisit and hear how others are travelling by sharing this story, and that each time we share it we can find a different touch stone to our own lives, faith community experience and theological experience.

To take this passage into our homes and share it as family devotion time too is a privilege.  As the lived reality extends into the week and our 24/7 lives is a wonderful opportunity, especially when Intergenerational Faith Worship is not a part of your faith communities worshipping experience.

But it must be shared, it requires an exchange of experience not a top down example of learning. So how can we extend that into our families worship time. Not everyone can speak elegantly, let everyone contemplate this passage their way.

SO Write about it,

OR speak about it,

OR build a Lego model about it,

OR draw about it,

OR create a multimedia about it,

OR  Sing about it.

And listen, observe, be open and share in a safe and valued manner.Who of us understands the totality of God!

 

But we are not done. There is another passage this week that contributes to Child and Family Ministry and Intergenerational Faith Formation, it is the First Reading, taken from Joshua 5:9-12. Passover. A unifying ritual of the wandering community. And as communities and families we too experience the importance of coming together. In Congregations, this is in the rituals of significant days such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas, Annunciation etc. In families, we join for birthday’s, anniversaries, deaths, engagements, graduations etc. This coming together defines the community and reinforces the idea of who we are and with whom we belong. Create it, collect together and build family and faith communities. At home, start with a gathering of the clan, generational gathering on a regular basis, and if single or separated from biological groupings create your own, invite friends or possible friends, and don’t just stick to generational friends expand it out and invite the sticky nose from down the road for a meal too! and add grace, or a blessing or a reading to the agenda. Why be afraid of making a faith statement? Someone else may be wanting to do it too!

Blessings

Wendy L

 

 

[1]Allen, Holly Catterton and Ross, Christine Lawton, Intergenerational Christian Formation: bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship. (2012, Intervarsity Press, Illanois) p. 20. For a broader set of definitions see pp.18-21

 

[2]One such study https://www.barna.com/research/children-faith-formation/?mc_cid=5cc5ac3f1e&mc_eid=62335c3441&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

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