Welcome to ROOTS at home for families
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© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.
Read our article ROOTS at home - support for nurturing faith at home (www.rootsontheweb.com/faithathome)
In today’s worship together the connection between loving Jesus and keeping his commandments is explored. This can easily be explored using family relationships (see the drama for an idea to illustrate this). We also have another message of comfort from Jesus as he promises he will not leave us alone but that he will send his Spirit. See Bible notes for more information on the passages for today.
Use this prayer as you begin your time of worship together. Nominate a leader or all join in together.
Jesus, we love you,
and know that you love us.
Help us to understand
how you want us to behave:
towards you and towards others.
Share the Bible story using the idea below to help you explore it together.
John 14.15-21: Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us for ever.
Re-order and read
Print the passage out and cut it into eight strips corresponding with the numbered points below. Give these out and ask everyone to work as a group to put the passage in the right order and make sense of it. Help to ensure the order is correct and then read it together.
One day, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If you love  me, you will keep my commandments. Although I am going away  in a little while, I will not leave you on your own. I am going to ask God the Father to send an Advocate, his Holy Spirit . It is the Spirit of truth and it will stay with you for ever.’ He continued, ‘The world is not ready for the Holy Spirit, because it does not see or know God’s Spirit. But you will know the Holy Spirit  because it will live in you.’
Jesus said, ‘The world will not see me  once I have gone away. But you will see me. On that day you will know that I have returned to my Father. And you will know that I live through you  and you live through me.
‘There are other people,’  he added, ‘who also love me and keep my commandments. They are loved  by both me and my Father and I will show myself to them.’
commandments rules to follow in life, given by God
Advocate the Holy Spirit who speaks for God.
Spend time reflecting on the Bible passage, using the questions below as appropriate.
Talk together with children
- What do you think Jesus means when he says that the Holy Spirit will ‘live in you’?
- Can you think of an example where you’ve kept a rule because you love someone?
- If we love Jesus and try to show his love, what difference might that make to the other people we know?
Talk together with young people
- What does Jesus ask of us?
- What does Jesus promise us?
- Do you find this passage reassuring or challenging? Why?
Activities, songs and prayers
Choose from the activities below and do any or all of them in any order you wish. Some are designed for younger children and some for young people. However we hope using a mix will work for any ages in your household.
- Set a marker on the wall far higher than everyone can reach.
- Give each person a sticky note and ask them to stand beside the marker and attempt to jump up and put their sticky note as high as they can on the wall.
- Stand back and look at how far short of the marker they reached.
Remind everyone that we cannot do what Jesus asks of us without the Holy Spirit in us.
Praise God with colour
Paint a big heart outline on a large piece of paper and place a selection of coloured paint and paint brushes around it. Encourage the children to use colour to praise God. Ask them to use the colours in the heart to show how it feels to be loved by God.
Create a reminder to keep Jesus’ great commandment
You will need: red card, white card, heart template, scissors, pens, glue, safety pins, sticky tape.
- Tell everyone about Jesus’ big instruction to us – to love one another. If we love one another, it can show what Jesus is like.
- Explain that they are each going to make a badge as a reminder that loving Jesus means loving others.
- Provide each person with a red heart and a white heart of exactly the same size (they can cut these out or you might find it simpler to pre-prepare for the group). Ask everyone to write ‘love’ In the middle of their white heart. Now cut the red heart in half vertically and glue the outer curved parts to the top of the white heart so that they fold open like doors to reveal the word ‘love’ on the inside.
- Tape a safety pin to the back of the white heart to make a badge.
Spend some quiet time reflecting on the passage, as well as what you have been doing in the activities you chose.
Before the session, prepare some ‘If…, then…’ sentences e.g.
‘If we love our parents, then…’
‘If you train hard at running, then…’
‘If you go to bed late every night, then…’
‘If you work hard at school, then…’
‘If you treat people with respect, then…’ etc.
Shout these out and ask everyone to call out good endings to complete each sentence, then discuss the concept of consequences.
Finish your time of worship by praying together in any way you choose (there are more prayers on our Prayers page).
Take a shallow tray and pour in salt or fine sand. Smooth it out to make the surface flat. Invite everyone to use a lolly stick or finger to draw a heart and a plus sign, as you say:
may we always love you and follow your commandments.
You may wish to play the song Little life (for you Jesus), Hillsong Kids on Can you believe it? as you do this.
A prayer to end with
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have called us to love God
and love our neighbours as ourselves.
Give us the Holy Spirit
to help us follow your commandments
and to live in peace, hope and love.
You may wish to use the additional resources below to worship together and/or the activity sheets for children.
Sing and listen
Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.
Key to abbreviations for hymn book titles
The ten commandments song
Be careful, little hands, what you do (CJP 312)
I’m gonna clap my hands (CJP 555)
Lord I give you my heart
Until the whole world hears, Casting Crowns on Until the whole world hears
Are we not one, Young Oceans on Suddenly (or the nuclear sunburst of the truth revealed)
Intermission, Lucy Grimble on Intermission
One way, Hillsong United on With hearts as one
See also Same Boat @ HOME
Live your faith
Be aware of when you are following any rules this week. As you do, think about Jesus’ commandments and how, if we follow them, we are showing him we love him.
(Links to the PDFs for these can also be found at the end of the page.)
Notes on the Bible story for parents and carers
- This passage follows on directly from last week, and here Jesus expands on what he said about following in his way by explaining more about how we put the idea into action: by loving Jesus and keeping his commandments.
- This relationship between loving Jesus and keeping his commandments is not a case of ‘if you love me, prove it!’, but rather Jesus explaining how us loving him enables us to keep his commandments. This is not a rule-keeping exercise but a reminder that Jesus’ commandments are all rooted in a loving relationship: loving God and loving others.
- In verses 16-17, Jesus goes on to explain how we are not expected to do this on our own, but rather that we have the Holy Spirit, or ‘Spirit of truth’, as our ‘advocate’. The Greek word literally means the one ‘called to your side’ and could equally be translated as ‘intercessor’, ‘counsellor’ or ‘intermediary’. Crucially, the term means someone who will never desert us in our hour of need. This then flows on naturally from discussing our relationship with the Holy Spirit to discussing our relationship with Jesus and with the Father; this is all bound up in that oneness with God that ensures that we are not left on our own.
- In verse 21, John describes how this relationship will work, always deepening and developing in love. We are invited to receive that same Holy Spirit, enabling us to love God and keep his commandments.