Week 2: Anything Good
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, name the last time you did something good for someone else.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read John 1:43-51.
- In this passage, Nathanael had to reassess an assumption (that the Messiah would come from a town of importance. Nazareth was tiny and unimportant). What would Nathanael miss if he held on to his assumptions? [Jesus!] Name a time in your life when you had to reassess an assumption.
- Read the Communion liturgy from The United Methodist Hymnal or online. (Focus on the invitation and the confession and pardon.) How might these reminders help us to examine where we have done harm or failed to do good?
- Discuss: While it is natural to think that those who are like us do good, it is much harder to consider that those who are different from us are good or are capable of doing good. This passage and the Communion liturgy invite us to self-examination. We are confronted with the question, “Can anything good come from us?”
- How does God’s grace give us assurance beyond right or wrong opinions? [No matter how limited our experiences or how incorrect our opinions, we beloved children of God.]
- Why are difficult conversations so anxiety producing? [We fear emotional outbursts, loss of relationships, and doing harm.]
- While some might see difficult conversations as futile (“I know what I believe. You know what you believe. We’re not going to convince each other, so what’s the point?”), what good might result from having these conversations? [We grow in our perspectives of what others believe. We deepen the reasons for our beliefs. We might persuade others to amend their perspectives, and they might persuade us to amend our perspectives. Ultimately, we might grow closer to God as we see more and see God in others. For more information, see the Courageous Conversation resources on our website, https://www.umcdiscipleship.org.]
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 (could use the prayer from the Confession and Pardon):
Gracious God, we confess our imperfections and times when we have failed to live and act as one of the baptized. May we see ourselves defined by your grace and not by our faults. Help us to see how you are transforming us into your image and that we might see how you are at work in others, even those who count us as enemies. Amen.