Week 4: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In groups of two or three, have participants respond to the question, “What does it look like to be ‘blessed’?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Matthew 5:1-12.
- How do the “blessed” statements in the first half of verses three through twelve relate to the promises in the second half of the verses?
- How are verses three and ten related? [Both speak of the kingdom of heaven.]
- How are Jesus’ words in this section describing what disciples already do? How are Jesus’ words saying what disciples should do? [More the former than the latter.]
- Glance through the rest of the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7). How does this passage introduce and prepare for the rest of what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount?
- How do the qualities described in this passage compare with qualities that are often prized in our society? [i.e. productivity, wealth, and so on.]
- Whom do you know that best exemplifies the qualities of the Beatitudes?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
Gracious God, enliven us to see those who suffer and thirst for righteousness; open us to meekness; teach us to be humble and gentle; guide us in valuing the qualities of your kingdom, so that the church of Jesus Christ may be a light to the world and others may know of your love. Amen.