Forming Faith Blog

Living the Bible (Putting God’s Story into Action)

Free Resource: Do Justice and Love Kindness (Kids: PK-2nd)

Living the Bible: Word and Action

Scripture is central to our life of faith. As twenty-first-century citizens of the world, we were not present at the events that are foundational to our faith, so we must rely on the written accounts of those who were close to those events. While Christians disagree about what it means, we typically agree that “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16). From that debate, I will back away slowly.

However, as I wrote about in my blog post on biblical fluency, I believe that God calls us to not only learn the details of what the Bible says but to learn how to live as God calls us to live in Scripture. This is why I called my Narrative Lectionary (biblical overview) series of faith formation resources Living the Word. Learning what the Bible says is only useful if we put that learning into action.

Living the Bible: The Call to Love

Again, there is much debate over what it means to live according to a biblical ethic, to live a life of faith. In my view, living the Bible is simply about love. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus responded with two commandments: love God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and love your neighbor (Leviticus 19:18, 34). “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). Paul says basically the same thing: “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14).

Living the Bible: Faith Practices

One of the components I included in the entire Living the Word series is called “Living the Story.” This follows the central component “Learning the Story” that focuses on participants learning the basics of the day’s Bible passage. Living the Story is about connecting the day’s Bible passage with a specific faith practice. I have divided faith practices into four basic categories: prayer, worship, fellowship, and service. Although I define service as “putting love into action,” all four categories are about practicing love of God and others. It is in practicing our faith that we learn to live it.

Living the Bible: Stewardship

My last blog post was about Whole-Life Stewardship, where I defined stewardship as more than giving money to the church but using everything loaned to us by God (that is, everything) to fulfill the greatest commandments of love. Therefore, stewardship is about living the Bible, putting God’s Word into action.

Living the Bible: The Least of These

The command to love others applies to everyone. God calls each person to love each other person. No one is exempt from loving, and no one is exempt from being a recipient of that love. God’s love is unconditional, and ours should be, too. However, God repeatedly focuses on those who are poor and vulnerable in society: the widow, orphan, stranger, and poor (Zechariah 7:8-10); the poor, captives, blind, and oppressed (Luke 4:18); the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35-36). Those who are vulnerable need help, empowerment, and justice, that is love.

Do Justice and Love Kindness

Within a congregational setting, we can act in love in various ways. It is very likely that your congregation already has opportunities for people to worship, have fellowship, and pray. But, are these effective for the most number of people? Does your congregation teach people how to practice their faith outside the church walls? Service (within which I include working for justice), is more difficult to do on a Sunday morning. However, it is possible to plan a service project that can take place at church, and most definitely it is possible to brainstorm, plan, and educate. Our free activity this week “Do Justice and Love Kindness” helps faith formation participants brainstorm who needs our help the most, and then how we can help them, creating a craft that can remind everyone to do justice and love kindness. This activity is from our Living the Word: Kids (PK-2nd) curriculum. It was originally designed for an elementary-aged classroom setting, but it can be easily used in a cross+generational setting, even as a part of the worship service!

-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)

 

2018-2019 (NL Year 1) faith formation materials are now available for purchase. Download Fall and Winter lessons right away! You can download the 2018-2019 Planning Tool and Scope & Sequence to start your planning for the next program year!

For more great ideas on how to engage participants of all ages in the story of God’s love, check out our Living the Word series for elementary students, youth, adults, and intergenerational settings!

Image Copyright: bodnarchuk / 123RF Stock Photo