Week 2: Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A
1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Psalm 40:1-11
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering and Opening (10 minutes). In groups of two or three, discuss the following: “When you introduce yourself, what identification markers do you most commonly use? (mother of…; father of…; work at…Church; member at…)
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Psalm 40:1-11. Read the 1 Corinthians passage a second time. This time, read the word “you” as either “y’all” or “you all.”
- How does Paul identify himself to the hearers of this letter in Corinth? (Most would have been illiterate and would have had this letter read to them.) [In verse one, we read that Paul notes that he is “called,” specifically “to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.”]
- How does Paul identify the recipients of the letter? [“who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…”]
- Paul’s letter will go on to highlight numerous ways the people in this church are falling far short of whom Christ is calling them to be. How is it that Paul can call them saints? What might that mean for how we think about being a saint? [Saint is someone who recognizes their need for a savior and is beholden to God through Jesus Christ.]
- Why do you think Paul begins the formal portion of this letter with gratitude (v. 4, “I give thanks to my God always for you…”)? [It was customary; it reminded them of their relationship, and it displayed Paul’s gratitude, even as he critiqued them.] What is Paul thankful for? [Grace of God; the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among them; the evidence of their spiritual gifts.]
- Paul writes that they (all of them as a body) do not lack in spiritual gifts. (An individual might be lacking; but as a community, they are not lacking.) How did the second reading of the passage (using the phrase “you all” or “y’all”) change or modify your understanding of the passage?
- What does it mean to you to belong to the body of Christ?
- How can this group help each person experience the grace and empowerment of God?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of our ancestors, we give thanks for being part of the body of Christ. We give thanks for how we have been encouraged and empowered by those in the past and those present among us now. Empower us, so that others might be strengthened and encouraged by our life and faithfulness to the body of Christ. Amen.
Human Relations Day is January 15. Click here for information about Human Relations Sunday.