This week in worship we consider the word PREDESTINED. The doctrine of predestination is a difficult one for adults to comprehend, and even more so for children. For a good overview of the theological issues surrounding predestination in the Presbyterian tradition, read this article on the PCUSA website, from Jane Dempsey Douglass as interviewed by Vic Jameson . In particular, pay attention to the following section:
What’s vital about the subject for us today?
I think at least four points are important. First of all, the Reformed tradition has always stressed the freedom of God, and predestination has been connected to a doctrine of God’s freedom and of God’s lordship over the universe, over all creation. The doctrine of predestination re-emphasizes that God alone is Lord.
In the second place, the doctrine of predestination functions for us today, as well as it did for Luther and Calvin, to safeguard the doctrine of justification by grace. I think our experience is that faith comes as a gift from God; we understand that God comes to us with God’s grace–to which we can only respond with gratitude. And Reformed predestination is a way of saying God has taken the initiative in giving us these gifts.
Third, I think that, along with the Reformers, we can see this doctrine as a source of assurance of God’s love for us. It is a doctrine that gives us confidence as we stand before God as forgiven sinners.
Finally, we need to see the doctrine as the Reformers did as part of a doctrine of providence: God cares about everything God has created, and God has a purpose for each person who has been created.
For children, and perhaps for adults, these four points are the major takeaways (and the good news) about predestination as we understand it from our reading of Scripture and theological tradition. God is in charge, and we are not. We are saved by grace through faith, which is God’s free gift to us. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. Thanks be to God!
Here are some more ideas to explore with your child before, during, and after worship.
- Check out the worship bulletin notes in the margins. There is a Children’s Note each week.
- Check in the worship bags for a Worship Word sheet for your child. Fill in the worship word at the top (predestined) and add the date and your child’s name. Below is space for your child to draw something he or she hears today in the sermon, in the music, or in a prayer.
- Below the drawing space, your child is invited to make tally marks every time they hear the worship word.
- On the back is a blank page for your child to make some worship art. Encourage them to draw something related to worship as a gift to God. I would love to see what they create, if they want to share!
Before or after worship…..
- It’s a Communion Sunday, since it is the first Sunday of the month. Children of all ages are welcome at the Lord’s table. In the Presbyterian church the official language about children and communion says this: “Baptized children who are being nurtured and instructed in the significance of the invitation to the Table and the meaning of their response are invited to receive the Lord’s Supper, recognizing that their understanding of participation will vary according to their maturity.” Some parents are comfortable bringing their very young children to communion. Others prefer to wait until there is more formal education, like our 1st Grade Milestone communion class with parents and children together.
- Want more information and ideas for talking about communion with your child of any age? Check out these ideas. Teaching Your Child about Communion
Finally, check out our website, and our Facebook page to learn about all our activities for Children and Families here. Start here.