The practice of presence is the practice of being together. We can't do this faith journey alone! In this season we'll have to be creative about how we practice presence, but we hope that these practices will help you think creatively about how to be in community with others.
Challenge: Send a message to someone to let them know you are thinking about them.
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
It’s always nice to hear that someone is thinking about you and praying for you! A short message doesn’t take long but it can go a long way. It’s a simple way to be present with someone even if you can’t be physically present. Today send someone a message to let them know you are thinking about them. Use this time to build them up and encourage them!
For Kids: Kids without cell phones can write a letter to someone or use a parent’s phone to call someone.
Challenge: Write a letter of encouragement to a friend who has been going through a tough time.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 NIV
When you’re going through a tough time, friends can make all the difference! Friends love in good times and in bad and will be there for you in adversity. Take a moment to think about someone you know who has been going through a tough time. Write a letter or card of encouragement to them. Getting some tangible words of encouragement might be just what they need to get through the day and is another way you can be present even when you might not be able to be physically present.
Challenge: Eat dinner as a family without electronics. Ask each other intentionally where you have seen God in your day and week.
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2:46 NIV
There is something holy about a shared meal together. When we eat together it seems that we are more open and vulnerable with each other, more willing to share freely, and more willing to see one another without pretense. Jesus shared some of his last moments in a meal with his disciples and meals just seem to bring people together. Today bring your family together over a meal and leave the electronics somewhere else. Use this time to ask intentional questions. Ask each other where you have seen God in your day and week.
Challenge: Schedule a time to spend time with friends (in-person or virtually) this week.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Our God is a relational God and we are created for relationships! We need each other in good times and in bad. Right now that might need to look different for some of us as we do our best to keep each other safe. Let’s get creative and find some unique ways to spend time with friends.
Some ideas for creative online meeting:
Have a coffee date over video
Go on a walk while you talk on the phone together.
Eat a meal together over video
Play a board game over video
Play JackBox games over video
Purchase an AirBnb online experience to do together over video
Challenge: Plan a game night.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine” Proverbs 17:22 NLT
Sometimes what we need is a good night of laughter and fun to fill the soul. Plan a game night however works best for you. This might be a game night with your family, a game night over zoom, or a game night in person. Build up your relationships and spend some quality time together.
Challenge: Call a grandparent or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
As with many of the practices for this theme “presence” we know that physical presence isn’t always possible in this time. It may have been a while since you’ve seen some family members. Maybe you usually get together for Easter and that’s not possible this year. Call a family member you haven’t talked to in a while and spent some time catching up. They’ll probably be happy to hear from you!
Challenge: When people interrupt you try to put down what you’re doing and give them your full attention.
Jesus was all about embracing disruptions. Much of his ministry happened because he was willing to stop what he was doing and be with people in the moment. Luke 8:40-48 is just one of these examples. Jesus is on his way to heal the daughter of a synagogue leader when another woman who desires to be healed touches the edge of Jesus’ cloak. Jesus stops what he is doing and searches for this woman. He engages with her and has a conversation with her and sends her off healed.
What if interruptions aren't actually disruptions, but rather moments in which we could engage with others and minister to them? Today when someone interrupts you, don’t ask them to come back later or tell them you’re too busy. Try to put down what you’re doing for a moment and give them your full attention. You might be surprised what comes out of that moment.