Second Sunday of Easter: Week of April 24, 2022
Begin your devotion time by praying this: Magnificent Creator, all of nature sings Your praises. Help us to enter into harmonious relationship with You and make us instruments of your peace, that we may become sustainers of Your divine symphony. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is Worship. In today’s Psalm, we are called to rejoice and proclaim our love for God and one another. What are your favorite things about worship? What are some ways you can incorporate those aspects of worship into your daily rituals and devotional time?
Adult and Small Child
Reflect: Praise is a special word that we use for how we show our love to God. This psalm, or song of praise, is describing many different ways we can make music to show our love to God. What do you do when you want to show someone you love them? Do you give them a hug? Do you draw them a picture or make them a card? Do you make up a song for them? All of these are ways to show our family and our friends that we love them and all of these are ways, like the writer of the psalm, that we can also show love to God! When we gather together with other people to share with one another how much we love God, we are practicing worship.
Respond: This week calls for a musical dance party to worship God! Can you gather some simple instruments – tambourine, egg shakers, or a harmonica? Or, make a few homemade instruments – a shoebox and some rubber bands can be a simple “guitar”, pots and pans can be drums, and you can make your own maraca with popcorn kernels inside a tightly sealed plastic food storage container. Collect your instruments and put on some favorite music and dance to show your love for God. You can make up your own song about God – use adjectives to describe what you think of God – “great” or “loving” or “caring” – and put to music any simple story about how God brings new life during this Easter season.
- Katy Seitz Denning
Adult and Elementary
Reflect: When I was in middle school, I played the clarinet. The clarinet is a woodwind instrument. In school bands, there are usually 3 sections; brass, woodwinds, and percussion. Trumpets are an example of a brass instrument. Flutes and clarinets are examples of woodwind instruments, and bass drums are one type of percussion instrument. Every section of the band is important, and no one is left out. The band comes together to make a unified sound. Our reading gives us the instruction, "Let everything that breathes, praise the Lord!" We can use our whole body in praising the Lord. We can wave our hands, we can clap our hands, we can stomp our feet, and we can lift our voices. Let's use everything we have to praise and worship the Lord!
Respond: Please ask for permission to engage in this activity. Using some items from the kitchen, you can make instruments. Use one pot and a wooden spoon to make a drum. Take a half-cup of dry beans or rice and place inside a plastic bowl then, take another bowl tape the lids together. You've just made a tambourine or maracas. Use these homemade instruments as well as your voice to praise the Lord!
- Imani Driskell
Adult and Youth
Reflect: In Psalm 150, the psalmist sings “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.” This psalm is not only a beautiful expression of praise, it’s also a lesson. Where should we praise God? Wherever we are. How should we praise God? Loudly, softly, and enthusiastically! Who should praise God? Young and old, rich and poor, all living creatures. We learn today that praise and worship is a wonderful way to express our love and gratitude to God. It is a direct outpouring of our feelings and how we can connect and become closer to God.
Respond: Is there a song that you love? When you hear it played, you just want to sing at the top of your lungs? You know every single word! Reread today’s lesson as if it were lyrics to a song. To your favorite song. Does this make you look at this psalm differently? Can you feel the love and enthusiastic expression of gratitude that went into writing this psalm? Think about ways in which you can express your gratitude to God this week. In writing? In art? In prayer? In worship? What feels most right to you?
- Lauren Wainwright
Adult and Adults
Reflect: I proudly sang in the bass section of our church choir for many years and during Easter we often sang “Crown Him with Many Crowns”. Our director loved to punctuate this majestic hymn, not only with alternating verses among the choir and the congregation, but also with the addition of a trumpet. Trumpets were usually for special occasions in our church and for us this brassy addition truly magnified our praise – our director was more animated, the choir more focused on our entrances, the congregation more robust in their singing. The worship experiences were enhanced by the music emanating from us and surrounding us.
Respond: Great music has come from religious expressions of worship over the centuries and it’s easy to overlook what praising God in God’s sanctuary might have looked like when the psalmist wrote, and to take for granted the historical arc of what we hear in our churches and worship spaces today. Write a short song of praise and then imagine adding trumpets, lutes, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and strings. “Play” your praise song in your head. “Listen” carefully to what you’ve created and think about how you might move to the music you’ve created. Worship gladly, praising God in God’s sanctuary for God’s mighty deeds. And “let everything that breathes praise the Lord!”
- Mallard Benton