Dear FPC Youth,
Wow! It’s hard to believe another week has gone by. I hope you’ve had time to be outside and enjoy some of the beautiful sunshine we’ve had this week. The last few days, I have noticed an abundance of dogwoods, cherry blossoms, and azaleas in full bloom. Spring is such a beautiful, tangible reminder of renewal and hope – something we can all use right now when so much of the news is negative and scary.
We know everyone is working hard to stay on track with school work, but just like last week, we encourage you to take some time to reflect and engage with your Faith Community, all from the comfort of your own couch! If you have thoughts or questions to share, please post those in the comments section below! Stay safe, be well, and know how much we miss you all!
Finding Closeness in the Distance
During this time of quarantine, many people feel distant and removed from friends and community. Without those daily face-to-face interactions in the neighborhood, at school, in the grocery store, or at the park, we have all had to work harder and be more intentional about reaching out and talking with friends and other important people in our lives. Even though we have technology and many ways to stay connected, we still may feel like our relationships aren’t as strong as they would be without daily interactions and just spending time with each other.
Well, our relationship with God can suffer the same fate – the busy-ness of life, focusing our attention on school, sports, as well as our struggles and short-comings can get in the way of really spending that quality time with God. This week, we’re going to be thinking about prayer – specifically how it reinforces our relationship with God, and how we can develop our prayer life in a way that deepens our connection with Him.
Brief Movie Summary
This week’s movie clip is from “Meet the Parents” which stars Ben Stiller (as Greg) and Robert De Niro (as Jack – Greg’s girlfriend’s father) – if you haven’t seen it, here’s a synopsis:
A young man’s first visit to his girlfriend’s parents’ house turns out to be more nightmarish than he could ever have imagined. Hoping to use the weekend as a chance to propose to his girlfriend, he only succeeds in incurring the wrath of his prospective father-in-law and almost destroys their home in the process.
The clip takes place when Greg (played by Ben Stiller) is asked to “say Grace” before dinner.
Reflection and Discussion
Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God, just as talking is an important part of our relationship with our parent or friend. It’s impossible to be in relationship if you aren’t speaking to one another. But Jesus’ words also seem to make the point that we develop our prayer life by simply doing it. Reading some example prayers helps. Reading about prayer helps. But at the end of the day, we have to actually do it in order to get better. In the clip, Greg obviously does not pray very often, so when he does he is clearly uncomfortable, doesn’t know what to say, and it’s rather painful but funny to watch.
How do you think Greg could get more comfortable praying and talking to God?
Anne Lamott gives a helpful idea. She says our prayers could be broken into three categories: Help, Thanks, and Wow. Could you write a simple prayer that includes each of those things today?
HELP – What is something going on in your life, your family, your friends, your world where you hope God will help?
THANKS – What is something that has happened today for which you give thanks?
WOW – What is something you noticed today that leads you to stand in awe of God’s goodness, mercy, love, healing, power, creation, etc?
As you head into yet another week where everything is focused on “distancing” – can you accept the challenge of closeness? How can you develop your practice of prayer to draw closer to God? Share this challenge with your family and invite them to join you – sharing prayer time with family can be yet another way to draw closer with those we love, even when the world is holding us at arm’s length.
Be well, friends. Know that I’m praying for you all, and I can’t wait to see your faces again soon!
**Outreach Activity Challenge**
As you probably know, many people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities are not allowed to have any visitors at this time. This week, I challenge our FPC families to send cards/letters to members of our FPC congregation in local care facilities! The following members would love to hear from you and you can find their addresses in the PFC directory – if you need an electronic copy emailed to you, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to send you one!
Please write to: