Week 4: What Have You to Do with Us?
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 would be the hardest possession to give up?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read Mark 1:21-28.
- What might be surprising about verse 23? Hint: Where was the man with an unclean spirit? [The man with the unclean spirit was in the synagogue! Right among them—the religious people.] Why is it significant that the demon mentions his knowledge of Jesus? [It was not the religious people who clearly name Jesus’ identity and power, but rather a man with an unclean spirit.]
- Like those in the synagogue where an unclean spirit was found, we too can be surprised when evil encounters us in ways that are shockingly close to home. Why is it easier to think about evil being “out there” and a problem for “them” instead of acknowledging the evil that is among us (individually and collectively)?
- How is authority a theme in this passage? [Notice it is repeated in verses 22 and 27.] How do we allow Jesus to exercise authority over our lives? [Jesus has the authority to disrupt our plans, dreams, and strategies.]
- As a group, read again the first of the baptismal questions: “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?” What are some ways we stand against evil and/or the demonic in our society and in ourselves? How does the freedom and power God gives us relate to our ability to resist evil, injustice, and oppression? [It is only through God’s power that we experience freedom over these other forces. We cannot do so on our own power.]
- How is allowing Jesus to exercise authority over us connected with the ability to stand against evil? [It is only through Jesus’ authority that we learn God’s power over all forces. We cannot do so on our own.]
- What are some “-isms” that we should be aware of and work to eliminate? [Ageism, racism, sexism, classism, etc.] Which of these do you encounter most prominently?
- The man with an unclean spirit asked Jesus, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” (1:24) How might Jesus respond if you asked him, “What would you have us do, Jesus of Nazareth?”
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:
God of power and might, all the earth and all that is within it is yours. Give us the eyes to see the forces that are at work against you in the world around us. Give us the power to resist and stand against the rulers, powers, and principalities of this world and the power to love those who might seem unlovable to us. Amen.