By Cameron Silsbee
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment to sit in silence in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read over the group John 1v14 and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief last week’s Practice and the teaching
- From last week’s Practice, what did you want to carry forward in your life from the previous series?
- What stood out to you about the most recent teaching?
- In the story of the Scriptures, God seems to go to great lengths to communicate with people. Does this resonate with your own experience of God? Why or why not?
Read this overview
It’s not uncommon to hear someone say something along the lines of, “I like Jesus and what he has to say, but I’m not a fan of the rest of the Bible.” It may seem like a sophisticated, modern idea to point out that Jesus seems at odds with the rest of the Bible – something they assume ancient people wouldn’t have been sharp enough to notice. But this idea was being floated around within a hundred years of Jesus’s death by people like Marcion of Sinope.
If we take Jesus at his word in the Gospels, he seems to believe all of the Scriptures – which in his day was what we now call the Old Testament – pointed to him. Paul, an early church leader who held the Scriptures as inspired and authoritative, believed that Jesus was the clearest revelation of God. For 2,000 years, followers of Jesus have not only held to the unity of the Scriptures, but they have also believed that Jesus offers the foundational understanding of who God is.
Do this Practice right now
Spend a couple of minutes reflecting on your faith in Jesus and specific Gospel stories that have been or still are impactful and deeply meaningful to you. Choose one of the stories to share and why it has been meaningful or how it has impacted your faith in Jesus. If you’re having difficulty thinking of one or unsure you’d want to share, that’s okay.
Go around the group and have each willing person share the Gospel story they picked and why they picked it. Have one person jot down each Gospel story that someone shares.
Talk through this week’s Practice
For this week’s Practice, choose one or two of the Gospel stories shared from this time and spend time reading and meditating on what they have to say to you. Utilizing the following guide for Lectio Divina could be helpful as you read these texts:
- 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 is drawn 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 the text to connect with you personally. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, or your person at 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 about that.
- 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.
Be prepared to share next week with your Community anything noteworthy or meaningful from your time in the Gospels.
Close in prayer
End your time together by having one person pray 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.