Week 2: Making Distinctions
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering and Opening (10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants share when they have witnessed or were part of an act of favoritism.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- Have participants who are willing share their stories of where they have witnessed or were part of an act of favoritism.
- How do acts of favoritism reveal our belief in Jesus (2:1)? [How we treat others displays our core beliefs.]
- Why do you think there is the temptation to separate faith and works? [Too often, faith is narrowly defined as beliefs about ideas instead of a more robust understanding of faith that issues into living action.]
- James points out the distinction that was evident in the churches he was in ministry with – the distinction between the rich and the poor. What distinctions do you think James might point out that are evident in today’s churches? [Rich and poor, educated and uneducated, old and young, among the races, and so on.]
- Respond to the statements: “Faith that doesn’t act doesn’t live out its core belief. It is faith that isn’t faith.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- What is the distinction between being saved by works and what James is articulating?
- What might God be calling you to do as a response to this passage?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of steadfast love, we confess our tendency to make distinctions when we should instead see people in need of grace. Empower us to be your servants who look to serve all and display your love that seeks for each person to be made whole in your grace. Amen.