By Cameron Silsbee 

Begin with prayer.

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment of silence in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read over the group Exodus 3v7-8 and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching. 

  1. How does the story behind God’s personal name, Yahweh, strike you? Is it meaningful for you or less so?
  2. How would you describe your experience of God in your current season? Do you feel closer to him, or does there seem to be some distance or lack of intimacy?

Discuss the following prompts.

For the following discussion prompts, we suggest that Communities split into gender-specific groups.

  1. Have up to three people briefly share stories of when God walked with them out of a place of shame, darkness, or pain. For those sharing their stories, has anything shifted over time regarding what you find meaningful about what God did?
  2. What stood out to you about each of those stories? Where did you see Jesus acting, speaking, or empowering in the story?
  3. If you were to feel God calling you out of something shameful, dark, or painful, who are the specific people in your life, you would talk to about that? Is that something you need to do to respond to what Jesus is currently doing in your life?

Talk through this week’s Practice.

For this week’s Practice, read John 8v48-59. In John’s biography of Jesus, he records how Jesus identified with Yahweh’s personal name and self-disclosure, “I am who I am.” Use Lectio Divina to slow down and immerse yourself in the text. You can use the following guide to do so.

Prepare to meet with God: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room. Situate yourself comfortably in a quiet, solitary place. Calm your body and quiet your mind before God as you work to prepare your heart to receive what God has spoken through the text and to respond accordingly. Finally, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and feeling as you read.

Read: Read the passage slowly and carefully. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention uniquely. When your focus draws to a particular word or thought, pause momentarily to reflect on them.

Reflect: Upon completing the passage, return to the beginning and read again. On your second journey through the text, allow it to connect with you personally. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, your person in this moment? Ask, “What do I need to know, be, or do in light of the text? What does this mean for my life today?”

Respond: Talk to God about your experience. If you’re confused, say that. Moved? Express gratitude to God. Upset? Tell him about it. Compelled to worship? Worship. If the text has brought something else to mind, talk to God.

Rest: Pause in God’s presence before fleeing from the moment. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words or allow yourself to feel and experience these things quietly before God.

Close in prayer.

End your time together by having one person read the Nicene Creed over the group.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him, all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.