This summer, Incarnation families are gathering weekly at Alcova Heights Park, or at home, or in another lovely natural spot for a relaxed time of family prayer and nature exploration—read this post for a quick primer. Here's this Sunday’s wonder-worthy scripture:
Psalm 18:1- 3;17-19; 28-36; 46
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
Nature focus: rocks
By popular demand (namely, my 4.5 year-old son), we’re looking for rocks this week! Alcova Heights offers good ones to scramble over and explore. Bring any favorite rocks or minerals to share at the park, or to show and tell before 5pm zoom church!
We'll look for a nice, sturdy rock to sit or even lie down on. Get situated, take a breath, and try to relax your muscles. Don’t hold yourself up, but feel how the rock underneath supports you. (If you don’t have a boulder handy, you can just do this in the backyard, and feel the earth supporting you.)
A family member can read the selections from Psalm 18.
Whisper the prayer that arises: a prayer of thanks or praise, a cry for help, a relinquishing of control . . . (100% for the parents, amIright??)
Options for wondering all week:
Learn about types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic—and where we can find them in Virginia.
Work with rocks this week: the littles will enjoy stacking rocks, or simply transferring rocks from one bucket to another, or washing them.
Melted crayon rocks. [If you do one thing, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this.] It is wonder-full to watch the crayons melt! Consult our resident Artsy Lady-Pastor Amy with questions; watch kids enjoy the thrill of a little danger.
Heat dry, smooth rocks on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Adults: use an oven mitt to remove rocks onto cardboard for a safe work surface.
Kids and adults: use crayons (with wrappers removed) to create designs on the hot rocks.
As you create beautiful rocks, discuss setting up an Ebenezer— “stone of help”—as Samuel did after a military victory over the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:12):
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
As summer draws to a close and we transition into another season (yet also remain in the same strange season!)—take time as a family to look back at how God has helped thus far. How has each family member grown? How has the family grown as a whole?
Together look for other passages and images of rocks in the Bible:
We’ll hear Isaiah 51:1-3 for our Old Testament reading on Sunday (“look to the rock from which you were hewn”);
Jesus as the cornerstone;
a wise man building a house;
casting stones and gathering them together;
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (for older kids) . . .
I’d love to hear about others you find.