Week 2: Walk Before Me
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 tell, if they know, the origins of their names (or they may share the origins of family members’ names if they don’t know their own).
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16.
- How comfortable are you with the label Christian? Baptized believer? Disciple? Which do you identify with the most? Why?
- What has Abram/Abraham had to sacrifice to be a faithful follower of God? [His home (Genesis 11), his security, and now his name.] Why is sacrifice a vital component of discipleship? [While God meets us where we are, God does not leave us there. To walk in the abundance and newness of life, we must leave our former ways and trust God’s ways.]
- Reread verse 1. Notice that, first, God reminds Abram of God’s nature. Second, God gives the condition of the covenant, “Walk before me, and be blameless.” What might it look like to walk before God and be blameless? [Note that Noah was also referred to as blameless in Genesis 6:9. Note also that God has given Abram few specifics. Instead of a specific location, Abram is told to go to the place God will show him. Instead of telling Abram exactly how, God tells the childless and old Abram that his descendants will be exceedingly numerous.]
- How can our Lenten practices of giving up (“rending our hearts”) be small ways that we learn to trust God more?
- In this passage, God also includes Abram’s wife Sarai/Sarah as an important part of the story. Her name, and hence her destiny, is radically altered by God. The story of Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah takes place across decades. Like them, we too can feel that God is working at a glacially slow speed. What does their example teach us about dependence on God? About a life of faithfulness?
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:
Covenant-keeping God, we continue to believe that you are at work in the world. Help us to rend our hearts and give us the eyes to see hope when we are tempted to despair. Give us reassurance of your presence, even during times when we feel we are stumbling in the dark. May our lives be a witness to those around us of your faithfulness. Amen.