Think on These Things

Pressing On

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Does it seem that there are simply too many things to think about these days? It’s overwhelming, to say the least. And many in your worshiping congregation may seem overwhelmed. It just might be time for a reset. The Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, has written "Soul Reset," a book about finding space to breathe, about reorienting one’s life with gospel priorities. It might be a good resource for planning the service this week, which is a week of getting our thinking straight.

Week 2: Think on These Things

Philippians 4:1-9

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, discuss your anxiety or worry levels (from 1 to 10; with 1 being completely content and calm and 10 being freaked out).

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)

Read Philippians 4:1-9

  • As a group, take turns naming one situation or circumstance that brings you worry. Have one person write down the list of worries. (This will be used again during the prayer time.)
  • Do you believe it is possible not to worry about anything (v. 6)? What is Paul’s antidote or remedy for worry (v. 6b)? [Prayer.]
  • Often, we worry about things outside our control. How can prayer be an answer to our excessive worry? When we worry, how we are trying to control things we can’t control?
  • Paul also encourages us to rejoice (v. 4). What’s the difference between happiness and joy? (Happiness often depends on the circumstances; joy is transcendent of our circumstances.)
  • Paul also advocates that we treat one another with gentleness (v. 5). How can that be a form of ministry and witnessing to our faith during this time when anxiety seems more pronounced? How does treating others with gentleness begin from a place of joy?
  • What practices, habits, or routines can help us “think on these things” (v. 8)?

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

Before moving to a time of prayer, reread the list of worries. Incorporate those into the prayer time.

Sending Forth (2 minutes). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group in prayer or read the following prayer in unison:

Gracious God, we confess our proclivity to worry. Help us to be more aware when we begin to worry, so that we can turn those moments of anxiety into opportunities of prayer. Guide our thoughts that we might focus on your truth, your beauty, and your justice. Amen.

In This Series...

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Reformation Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes