Forming Faith Blog

Formed Together (September 13, 2020)

Hands forming a clay sculpture. God formed us at the beginning and continues to form us today.

Welcome to the beginning! Sunday, September 13 marks the first day of the Narrative Lectionary. In many congregations, it also marks the beginning of the program year. During the Narrative Lectionary years, I write brief reflections on the upcoming assigned reading, working from the perspective of faith formation.

Into the Story: Forming

Within this story of beginnings, God formed the first human from the dust of the ground. It is as though God is a sculptor and the human (adam, related to adamah (earth)) is the clay sculpture. God’s breath—God’s Spirit—transformed this sculpture into a living being.

We are formed, too. Our parents, families, friends, even strangers all have some effect on our personal development, our form. In the church, we often talk about faith formation (you can see what I mean by that on our What Is Faith Formation? page). Faith—that dual sense of a trusting, dynamic relationship with God and what we believe about this God, our world, and our place in it—is shaped by our experiences, actions, and relationships.

Into the Story: Together

In a portion of this story that our assigned reading skips this year (it was covered last year), it is clear that humans were not intended to be solitary. In Genesis 2:18, God states this directly:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.”

Faith can be formed just between the individual and God (just ask the religious hermits), but it is much more difficult. It is so much easier to form faith in God as we form relationships with each other.

Into the Story: Promise

The reason why this passage was chosen was to tell the story of the first sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The assigned portions from Genesis 2 are included to set the stage for this, as that chapter is the first assigned reading for Year 2 (which was last year).

One of the main questions that underlies the conversation between the crafty serpent and the woman is: who do you trust? Do you trust God and God’s promises? Do you trust that God has your best interests at heart? The serpent’s words disrupted Eve and Adam’s trust in God. They didn’t trust God’s word. Therefore, they broke their implied promise to follow God’s way. This pattern will be repeated throughout the Bible: God promises, we betray God, we suffer the consequences of our actions, and God’s grace picks us back up.

Forming Faith Together

Forming faith is half of the Church’s mission—the other half being to spread God’s kingdom (though they are in no way mutually exclusive). God, in God’s unconditional love, remains the sculptor. But God charges us to be the hands that mold the clay. This is a dynamic, mutual formation.

Faith formation, like most things, will likely be more difficult this coming year than normal. Most of us will not be able to connect in the ways we are used to or even aspire to. That doesn’t make it any less important. Empower and facilitate home-based formation through learning together and devotions. Connect through the Internet or phone lines. Hold socially-distant events when it is safe to do so.

Free Resource

Each week I provide a free resource that faith formation leaders can use as they prepare for the upcoming week, usually an activity from one of our products. This week, I would like to lift up a full lesson for September 13th of our new (pandemic-inspired) home curriculum God’s Story @ Home (Narrative Lectionary). This lesson is also available as a sample at the product page. If some or all your families will be worshipping or learning at home, this curriculum is designed to serve their needs. It is a short, simple lesson that can be sent home to families for faith formation activities for the whole family (of whatever size). Read our introduction letter for families, and download the lesson through the link at the beginning of the post or the purple button below.

In God’s love,

Gregory Rawn (Publisher)

Our Faith Formation Resources

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