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  • Writer's picturejosie

Wild Wonder October 25: Temples & Synagogues

Incarnation families are gathering on Sunday mornings at 9:30am in Alcova Heights Park—or at home, or in another lovely natural spot—for a casual time of family prayer and nature exploration. This fall, we’re enjoying art, music, and nature together, and we’re pondering Jesus’ maxims or "great truths." Here's this week's verse:

"your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you" 1 Corinthians 6:19

Careful observers (which our kids are!) might notice that this teaching isn't from one of the Gospels but from one of Paul's letters. If we've been talking about Jesus' great sayings, why is this one included?

  • Do you remember anything Jesus did say about the Holy Spirit? We might think back to our Pentecost celebration: before the Ascension, what did Jesus tell the disciples to do? (Luke 24:49, John 16:7)

  • Recall other stories that mention the Holy Spirit. (From atrium, these might include: the Annunciation; the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth when baby John the Baptist leapt in his mother's belly!; the Presentation in the Temple, when Simeon and Anna somehow knew the Messiah had been born; Pentecost!)

  • What would early followers of Jesus think about when they thought of a temple?

For the Jewish people, the temple was the sacred place for God's presence to dwell. What does it mean for our bodies to be temples?

Megan and Jack working with the city of Jerusalem (back when we met in a building!)

Temples & Synagogues

For adults, here's a thought-provoking excerpt from Sofia Cavaletti's writing, comparing this time away from the church building and/or the Eucharist with the proliferation of synagogues during Israel's Babylonian exile (no temple.): "the only way left for the exiled Hebrew people to remain in communication with their God was to return to meditating on the Word, which is a means of his presence among them." Fortunately, synagogue and temple as the means of God's presence became not an either/or, but both/and! Cavaletti notes that synagogues continued to flourish even after the temple was rebuilt.

I hope this, combined with our scripture above, encourages us that our times of family prayer at home (in our synagogues, our "domestic church") will be fruitful and worthwhile—and can continue even after we return to "normal" Sundays.

Wonder All Week

While I've seen headlines (for articles I don't read TBH) about the detrimental effects of children's ministry and churches being physically closed, I want to encourage you that parents are and have always been the primary spiritual caretakers of their children. You (we) can do it! The Holy Spirit is the Teacher—which makes it our job to 1. Proclaim the good news; and 2. Make space for response.

Sundays are a great place to start. "Cease from what is necessary," and revisit Liz's sabbath sermon with an eye to family life. This might look like:

  • Joining us at Alcova Heights to pray and explore.

  • Gathering to read scripture together. The scriptures for each Sunday's service are listed here each week! (Sometimes, when kids have a preview, they're more interested to hear and recognize it during the service.) Or, print out these scripture charts for ages 6+ to keep in or near the Bible, making it simple for kids to select a reading. Or use one of the short Family Prayer services in our Book of Common Prayer.

  • Setting the Sunday table in a special way. Light a candle, declaring, "Jesus said, 'I am the light of the world.'"

Enjoy a Family-Friendly Hike! Alex and Lee Anne recommended visiting the East Capitol Ruins in Rock Creek Park. And there's still time to join in on Incarnation's own hiking small group, which youth families have been loving.

Visit our YouTube page for song ideas, and re-visit Wild Wonder posts for suggestions on enjoying creation, art, and music together. Come, Holy Spirit!

P.S.— Jacob Lawrence in the news! (H/t Leigh M.)


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