Three biblical texts in particular have inspired the development of the Gather ’Round curriculum. The passages are from both Old and New Testaments: from Deuteronomy and the Gospels of Luke and Matthew:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
Themes from these texts are fundamental to the Gather ’Round curriculum. The passage in Deuteronomy reminds us that our awareness of God should extend to every aspect of our lives, not just in our churches, but also in our homes, workplaces, and elsewhere in the world. We want to strengthen this understanding and help especially to fortify the bond between congregation and home. We want also to be faithful to Jesus’ linking of this commandment to love of neighbor, so that one essential way we express our love of God is through our relationships with others.
Finally, this curriculum invokes Jesus’ assurance that he is with those who gather in his name. Hence, the name chosen for the curriculum, Gather ’Round, reinforces the importance of the gathered community: people of all ages coming together to hear God’s word, to worship, and to share God’s love at home and beyond.