Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.
From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O God, guide us and make us into the people you would have us be. As we hear your Word today, help us to grow in faith. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.
[A lawyer named Tertullus, and several other leaders, went to the governor to present a case against Paul]: “This man has been found to be a real pest and troublemaker for Jews all over the world. He is also a leader of a group called Nazarenes. When he tried to disgrace the temple, we arrested him. If you question him, you will find out for yourself that our charges are true.” The Jewish crowd spoke up and agreed with what Tertullus had said.
The governor motioned for Paul to speak, and he began: “I know that you have judged the people of our nation for many years, and I am glad to defend myself in your court. It was no more than twelve days ago that I went to worship in Jerusalem. You can find this out easily enough. Never once did the Jews find me arguing with anyone in the temple. I didn’t cause trouble in the Jewish meeting places or in the city itself. There is no way that they can prove these charges that they are now bringing against me.
"I admit that their leaders think that the Lord’s Way which I follow is based on wrong beliefs. But I still worship the same God that my ancestors worshiped. And I believe everything written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets. I am just as sure as these people are that God will raise from death everyone who is good or evil. And because I am sure, I try my best to have a clear conscience in whatever I do for God or for people.” (CEV)
Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.
Child: The community leaders wanted Paul to stop talking about Jesus. What does it feel like when a whole group is against you? Has that ever happened to you?
Child: When things go against us, how does trusting in God help us not to lose hope?
Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.
Lord God, be with those Christians around the world who are treated unfairly or even jailed for their faith. Strengthen them, free them, and let them know that they are not forgotten. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:
May you fearlessly share your faith! Amen.