Grandparents Day is the first Sunday after Labor Day.
Some of the people we call grandparents are such because they are our parents' parents — they are blood relations. And some of the people we call grandparents — or "elders" in some cultures — are such because of a quality of compassion, concern, wisdom, and generosity that they demonstrate toward us. The Search Institute has identified that children who have at least five caring adults in their lives, in addition to their parents, are more likely to thrive and less likely to become "at risk." Every congregation is blessed with "grandmas" and "grandpas" who love and share their faith in ways that form us as an extended family, a tribe, a clan of people embraced by the love of God.
While the worship for the day need not focus on "Grandparents Day," this is an opportunity to give thanks for and to acknowledge the gift of grandparents in our experience. It can be an occasion on the cultural calendar to express our joy and sense of blessing in both having grandparents and in being grandparents.
Below you will find worship resources and a few links that may be useful in observing the day.
Exodus 20: 12 (NRSV)
"Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land the the Lord your God is giving you."
2 Timothy 1:3-13
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you."
(2 Timothy 1:5, NRSV)
The United Methodist Book of Worship
468 Opening Prayer — Traditional Dakota Tribe Prayer
The United Methodist Hymmal
146, At the Birth of a Child (a prayer that parents and grandparents, as well as the church, may pray)
557, Blest Be the Tie that Binds
141, Children of the Heavenly Father
92, For the Beauty of the Earth
408, Gift of Love
445, Happy the Home When God Is There
560, Help Us Accept Each Other
695, O Lord, May Church and Home Combine
447, Our Parent, by Whose Name
643, When Love Is Found
549, Where Charity and Love Prevail
1. Prayer of Thanksgiving for Grandparents/EldersGod of Abraham and Sarah,
grandfather and grandmother in the faith
God of all generations:
We thank you today for those who are grandparents/elders.
We especially thank you for those who are grandparents to us —
those who are grandparents by blood relationships, and
those unrelated but older than we
who generously share
their love and wisdom,
their time and traditions
so that we have roots, stories, and hope.
We bless you for the gift of grandparents,
and we ask your blessing on them,
that their days may be filled
with delight in their grandchildren.
May their giving and grace toward younger generations
bring fulfillment to them
and may they be a blessing
to all they love and call grandchildren,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
2. A Congregational Act of Blessing
The pastor or lay leader may ask grandparents to stand and ask their grandchildren, if present, to hold their hands. The leader may pray the prayer with all saying "Amen," or it may be printed so all pray it aloud.Eternal God,
faithful, merciful, tender, and stern,
you are the God of all generations:
Bless our grandparents/elders [if appropriate, list each by first name].
May they know your call to share their wisdom
and faith with us.
May they have courage and confidence
to hand on your gifts
of experience and knowledge
of stories, songs, and memories.
May they continue to learn and grow with us as good stewards of your world.
May they delight in the wonder of each day.
Bless them with length of days and joy at the last,
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
3. A Prayer of Grandparents
This prayer might be prayed by grandparents/elders in public worship or in family settings.God of wonder and life,
we bless you that from one generation to another
you hold us in a web of relationships.
We rejoice in our children's children.
We rejoice in all children you prompt us to call "grand."
We thank you for the delight of touch and love expressed.
We thank you for the uniqueness of all the fun and little of the responsibility.*
We thank you
for songs to sing and Play Dough to shape,
for laughter at silly stories,
for moments of recognition,
for hugs to give,
for wisdom to share,
and for knowing when we must simply pray silently.
Lead us in forming faith with our grandchildren
so that with them and all your people
we may be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen.
*This line is italicized because many grandparents bear significant or sole responsibility for the rearing of their grandchildren. It may be appropriate to change the line or omit it.