Focal verse

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Reflection

As our children grow and become exposed to more people, places and experiences, the words they hear will multiply.

For instance, when my daughter entered kindergarten, she came home daily with an assortment of new words. Some she overheard from friends and older kids. Others related to video games and how to play “bad guys and good guys.” This challenged me. I know I can’t shield my daughter or son from others, but I do want to provide a firm foundation from which they can remember God’s word as they encounter others.

Every week in worship we hear God’s word. Through Scripture reading, preaching and song, we proclaim the stories of God’s people. The Old Testament readings center creation and how God’s people continually needed God to restore and redeem them. In the psalms, we sing and pray through pain, joy and everything in between. In the New Testament we hear about the saving grace of Jesus and how the Spirit builds the church. Receiving these ancient stories helps us recognize that God’s presence remains with us today.

When our children are immersed in worship, they’re reminded that they are, first and foremost, God’s beloved children, marked with the cross of Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Our congregation models reading and hearing Scripture on Sundays, and families can incorporate receiving truths from it during the week as well.

With two young children (ages 6 and 3), my family recently started reading from our Spark Story Bible at dinnertime. “Read the Bible now,” the kids began to urge me as soon as we sat down to eat. Some days we read one story and other days we’re running from place to place and don’t get the chance. I place our Bible next to our table so it’s ready to grab when we sit down.

Summer days may be just the right time to start a new practice of sharing Scripture as a family. Maybe on a car ride to the park or pool. Maybe as the kids put on their shoes. Maybe during a meal. Start small and remember that when we read God’s word to our children, we’re hearing the words spoken to us and they become a part of us: “You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead” (Deuteronomy 11:18).

Practices

  • Find time to read the Bible together (e.g., over a meal, at bath time, in the car, on a walk, during snacks). It doesn’t have to be lengthy or daily. Start with one verse story on a day of your choosing.
  • Memorize verses by writing them out together, repeating them out loud or using the first letter of each word to jog your memory.
  • Take your kids to a bookstore or search online for a Bible that is appropriate to their age and that they choose for themselves. or or make God’s stories come to life.
  • Immerse yourself in God’s word. Let your children see you reading the Bible or copying verses for inspiration.

Prayers

We pray for families navigating transitions in work and home life.
We pray for summer camps and outdoor ministries.
We pray for those who travel.
We give thanks for pools, parks and places to play and run.
We give thanks for libraries and librarians who share books and stories.
We give thanks for worship leaders who read Scripture, and Sunday school teachers.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Service opportunity

Grab some chalk and walk around your neighborhood leaving notes of cheer and love. You could write welcome notes and share God’s love on the sidewalks of your church, the local park or the public pool.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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