Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants share their responses to the question, “What brings you hope?”
- Psalm 116:2 says, “Because God inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” What do you think it means that “God inclined his ear to me”? [God is always listening.]
- What might “you have loosed my bonds” (Psalm 116:16 New Revised Standard Version) or “you’ve freed me from my chains” (Common English Bible) mean? Will you share if you have had an experience that these metaphors describe?
- What do you think are the “perishable things like silver or gold” in our current life? (1 Peter 1:18) [money, status, fame, stocks, jewelry, a house or land]
- What does Peter’s contrast of “perishable things like silver or gold” with “the precious blood of Christ” highlight? [Even the finest commodities and things of this world will not sustain you like a relationship with Christ (remember blood often denotes life).]
- What does Peter’s statement, “Your faith and hope are set on God,” mean to you? What might it mean for your church community? (1 Peter 1:21)
- How does what Peter said lead to his command to “love one another deeply from the heart” (v. 22)? [We can do so only through our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.]
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following prayer, a similar prayer, or the Lord’s Prayer:
Gracious and Loving God, we give you thanks for inclining your ear to us. We have been born anew, not of perishable but imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. Even though we have committed sins, “you have loosed our bonds.” Now help us to share our joy in our homes, churches, communities, and the world. Amen. (Adapted from Psalm 116)