Week 5: Enjoying the Company
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 what was most memorable in 2020.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- What does it tell us about Jesus that his parents brought him to Jerusalem for the ritual of purification and for what was customary under the law? [Jesus was raised in an observant Jewish home.]
- What does the Scripture mean that Simeon was looking for the “consolation” of Israel? [He was looking for the long-promised time when God would decisively act in Israel’s history so that justice and righteousness would become commonplace.]
- Why might have Simeon’s words in verse 32 have been surprising to some? [It includes the Gentiles. Simeon is prophesying that salvation is not just for the Jewish people, but the whole world.]
- How would you have felt about Simeon’s words if you were Joseph or Mary? How do you think Mary felt after Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul too?
- How is the story of Anna similar to the story of Simeon? [She too was looking forward to the redemption of Israel.]
- What do we learn about the ministry of Jesus from these stories? [Jesus’ ministry would be about the redemption of Israel and would radiate to the whole world.]
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group in prayer or read the following prayer in unison:
Faithful God, thank you for faithful men and women like Simeon and Anna who are intentional about seeking the reconciliation of the world. Help us to be hospitable to all those we encounter, listening to hear their hurts and hopes. Amen.