28 days: a mystagogical study for the family or individual

Devotional Guide for Adults and Youth

The following is a devotional guide to help you reflect on your sacramental experience of baptism and eucharist in light of the Scriptures. Passages are included for each day, along with supplemental passages from the Old Testament that appear in parentheses.

Please use this devotional guide as a means to lead you into meditation and prayer about what God has to say to you through these sacred actions of worship. How has he used them to shape you? How does he want to use them even now to bring you deeper into your new life in Christ? What is he trying to say to you, and to his church, through the words, the symbols, the movement, and the memory of the sacraments?

Please log your journey in a journal, including impressions, insights, experiences, and questions that arise from weekly worship.

Please consider the daily readings and questions as a family, helping your children with the process of writing their reflections in their journals. Make prayer and silence a part of your time together, and allow room for everyone to ask questions and wrestle with ideas. If you have younger children, consider these tips for including them:

  • Have the children read the Scripture passages.
  • Ask them for their thoughts—use simple questions: what? when? where? who? how?
  • Don’t be afraid to add your observations. Children often understand more than we expect.
  • For younger children, ask them to draw pictures of scenes from the passages and then talk about them.

If you are working through these passages on your own, consider using an immersive, prayerful approach:

  1. Find a quiet time and place. Free yourself from potential distractions as much as you can (have someone else deal with phone calls, children, doorbells).
  2. Take a few minutes to clear your mind. Breathe slowly, relax your body, make yourself aware of the simple fact that God is present.
  3. Read through the Scriptures for the day, simply listening at first. Don’t try to pick them apart, don’t seek insight. Just read them, even aloud.
  4. Pause for a moment. Did something jump out at you, a word or phrase? Make note of it in your journal.
  5. Read the Scriptures a second time, slowly. Listen again for anything that stands out, that causes you to linger for a moment. Make note of it in your journal.
  6. Consider what God has brought to your attention. Meditate on the words or phrases that caught your attention.
  7. Talk with God about what he’s trying to say to you. Listen to what his Spirit is saying.
  8. Write in your journal. What is God saying? Is he asking you to do something? Is he communicating something very personal, or something important for all of us? What new insight has he given. Can what he’s said be put into words? What difference does it make?

Week One

Sunday Rom. 6.1-11 (Ps. 51)

Journal suggestion: Reflect on our time together on Saturday evening. Record your impressions, insights, experiences, and questions. What did God say to you?

Big question for the week: what does your baptism really mean in your life?

Monday Matt. 28.19-20 and Acts 2.37-42 (Gen. 22.9-18; 1 Chr. 16.8-36; Is. 42.1-9)

Journal suggestion: Consider why baptism is so central to what we call the Great Commission. What is the relationship between baptism (conversion), teaching (disciple- ship), and the Holy Spirit? What did the newly baptized Christians do?

Tuesday Acts 8.35-39, 10.44-48, 16.30-34, 22.12-16 (Lev. 16. 23-28; Joel 2.28-29)

Journal suggestion: Examine these different accounts of conversion, baptism, and receiv- ing the Holy Spirit. How did it happen? In what order? Was anyone not baptized? Do you associate your own baptism with your conversion to faith in Jesus Christ?

Wednesday 1 Cor. 12.12-13; Eph. 4.1-6 (Ps. 33)

Journal suggestion: How does our baptism relate to how we get along with other Christians? Can you think of relationships you have with others that are clearly different because of your common baptism in Christ? How about any that are still a problem?

Thursday Col. 2.8-15 (Gen. 17.1-14; Deut. 10.12-22)

Journal suggestion: What does it mean to think of baptism as a permanent mark of your new life, like circumcision? Think about what it means to think of baptism and our salva- tion in such physical terms. Does it change the way you think about living the new life Paul talks about? How?

Friday 1 Pet. 3.18-22, Titus 3.3-7 (Gen. 6.12-9.17; Gen. 1.1-31; Ps. 77)

Journal suggestion: How are Peter and Paul describing what the water in baptism does? What does Noah and the ark have to do with baptism? What phrases from these passages stand out to you when you think about what your own baptism means? Think of someone you know who is not a Christian. What would it mean for them to be saved through the waters of baptism?

Week Two

Sunday Mark 10.38; Matt. 3.1-17

Journal suggestion: Reflect on our time together on Saturday evening. Record your impressions, insights, experiences, and questions. What did God say to you?

Big question for the week: what does being baptized into Christ mean we should be doing? Answer Christ’s question from Mark 10.38, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” What might it mean for you to drink his cup and be baptized in his baptism?

Monday Luke 3.1-22 (Is. 40.1-5)

Journal suggestion: Consider the questions asked of John when he baptized. What differ- ence did he expect baptism to make in the lives of those baptized? Why is judgement asso- ciated with baptism? What are those baptized being judged about?

Tuesday John 1.19-34 (Is. 35.1-10)

Journal suggestion: How was Jesus different than John? Why was Jesus baptized? What does the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus mean for those baptized in Jesus’ name?

Wednesday John 3.1-15; 22-36 (Ez. 37.1-14)

Journal suggestion: This passage is full: baptism, new birth, Spirit, purification, mysteries, and testimony. How does it all relate? What is hard for you to understand? Having been baptized, what of these mysteries begins to make sense to you? How could you testify to what God has done in your life?

Thursday Acts 1.1-6; 2.14-21, 37-42

Journal suggestion: What did baptism with the Spirit mean for the disciples? What was their response (what did they do)? What was the response of the people to Peter’s witness? What did the apostles tell them to do and say would happen? What did those who were baptized do? What pattern in all of this should apply to us?

Friday Reflection on baptism

Journal suggestion: What does it mean? For you, for the church? What is happening in baptism? How does being baptized change who you are? How does being baptized change what you do?

Week Three

Sunday Luke 24.13-35; Col. 1. 15-20, 24-29

Journal suggestion: Reflect on our time together on Saturday evening. Record your impressions, insights, experiences, and questions. What did God say to you?

Big question for the week: what does eucharist really mean in your life?

Monday Acts 2.37-47; Acts 20.7-12; Acts 27.27-38

Journal suggestion: Consider the New Testament “code” for eucharist: “breaking of bread.” In what context is it done in these passages? Is thanksgiving and gladness associ- ated with the breaking of bread?

Tuesday 1 Cor. 10.1-33 (Ex. 12.1-28, 16.1-17.7)

Journal suggestion: What is really at stake in these warnings from Paul about eucharist in the church? What does Paul’s focus on unity with Christ and one another say about why and how we celebrate eucharist?

Wednesday 1 Cor. 11.17-34

Journal suggestion: What does Paul say about the eucharist in this passages? What seems to be the focus of participating in communion? Consider the language about divisions, fac- tions, and discerning the body. What does our unity in this special act of worship say to those who witness it?

Thursday John 2.1-11; 6.1-14 (Num. 8.5-13; Joel 2.23-24; 2 Kings 4.38-44)

Journal suggestion: Consider the context of these miracles of Jesus’ provision. What do they say about Jesus, about the celebration of eucharist?

Friday Rev. 19. 6-10; Is. 25.6-10, 55.1-5 (Amos 9.11-15)

Journal suggestion: How is eucharist related to the marriage supper of the Lamb? What kind of images are we given about the banquet of the Lord? What do they mean for the Eucharistic meal of the church today? What do they mean for the world? What do you look forward to?

Week Four

Sunday John 15.18-27; John 17.20-24; Luke 22.7-23

Journal suggestion: Reflect on our time together on Saturday evening. Record your impressions, insights, experiences, and questions. What did God say to you?

Big question for the week: what does our weekly eucharistic celebration prepare us to do?

Monday Mark 14.12-25; Matt. 26.17-30 (Ex. 12.1-20)

Journal suggestion: What strikes you about these accounts of the last supper from Mark and Matt.? How are they similar or different? What does this language of covenant and blood mean? What about the reference to drinking in the kingdom of God?

Tuesday John 13.1-30 (Is. 42.1-9)

Journal suggestion: Why would John include this story of footwashing in place of the last supper? What themes are similar to those we associate with eucharist? What does it imply about our relationship with Christ, with others in the church, with the world?

Wednesday John 14-John 17

Read as if you are the disciples and Jesus is talking to you directly, right after you’ve shared bread and wine with him. Journal suggestion: What is Jesus trying to offer the dis- ciples in these words following his last evening with them? What themes keep showing up? What is he preparing them for?

Thursday John 6.22-71 (Ps. 22)

Journal suggestion: Why are these words difficult to hear? What do they tell us about Jesus’ relationship to those who eat his flesh and drink his blood? Why does he give of himself this way?

Friday Reflection on Eucharist

Journal suggestion: What does it mean? For you, for the church? What is happening when we celebrate eucharist? How does worship at Christ’s table change who you are? How does worship at Christ’s table change what you do? What does it mean for the world that the church is eucharistic?