June 2024


In Sorrow and in Rejoicing

Open Your Heart

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

As we enter this three-week stretch focusing on Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, we also focus on what I think is one of the key questions of Ordinary Time; namely, how do we live our faith day after day after day?

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 think about what they need to clean out and release to make room for God.

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-13. Reflect. Respond.

The message conveyed in 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 is multifaceted but centers around the themes of reconciliation, endurance in ministry, and the challenges faced by followers of Christ.

  • Reconciliation (Verses 1-2): Paul urges the Corinthians, and us today, not to receive God's grace in vain. Instead, we are called to respond promptly to God's offer of salvation. Now is the time to accept salvation and reconciliation. Ask for forgiveness from God and one another. What does God’s grace mean to you?
  • Endurance (Verses 3-10): Paul describes the trials and hardships he has endured as a minister of the gospel. Despite facing afflictions, hardships, and persecution, he and his fellow workers remained faithful. This passage highlights the reality of life challenges and the challenges of ministry. But it also emphasizes the resilience and perseverance of God’s people and the requirement to continue serving God faithfully. When were you resilient and persevered?
  • Servants of God (Verses 11-13): Paul expresses his deep affection for the Corinthians and calls them to open their hearts to him and his ministry companions. He urges them to be generous and to have a deep, mutual love for one another as they serve God together. How might you show deep, mutual love for someone with whom you serve?
  • Response to God's Grace: Paul urges readers not to let God's grace go to waste. The call to action is to respond without delay to God's offer of salvation. When was the last time you let God’s grace go to waste? How did it make you feel? What will you do differently?
  • Faith: Despite facing challenges, Christians are called to stay focused and faithful to their commitment to following Christ. Our call to action is to endure challenges with resilience and without quitting.
  • Embrace Reconciliation: Paul emphasizes the importance of reconciling with God and one another. The call to action is to seek reconciliation in relationships and to foster unity within the community of believers.
  • Open Hearts and Minds: Believers are encouraged to have open hearts and minds to God and others. We are called to show generosity and compassion.
  • How will you live out these values in everyday life, treating others with kindness and empathy regardless of how you are treated? How will you live in this space of action in this season of your faith community?

Friends, be encouraged; release all doubt. We have been invited to believe in the goodness and faithfulness of God for ourselves. The first step is to make room in our hearts for others. When we make room in our hearts, we may begin to trust others and trust in the abundance of God’s grace. I invite you to make room in your hearts for others.

Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.

Sending Forth (2 minutes). End with the following prayer, a similar prayer, or the Lord’s Prayer:

Great God, We come before you with grateful hearts, acknowledging your abundant grace poured out for us. Thank you for the opportunity to be reconciled with you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the cross. Help us to respond to your grace with the urgency of now, not letting the time we have go to waste. Amen.

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Dr. Stephanie Moore Hand epitomizes grit and leadership excellence, showcasing unwavering commitment and a tireless work ethic across corporate, faith, and governmental realms. She is an acclaimed author, a sought-after speaker, and the recipient of the 2021 Harry Denman Award. She is a wife, mother, author, and consultant; and most important, she loves Jesus.

In This Series...

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes