Week 3: All These Words
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 discuss, “What rule or rules did you have in your home growing up that at the time seemed overly restrictive that now make more sense?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Exodus 20:1-17.
- While these are often referred to as commandments, a more literal translation might be instructions. The Israelites did not view these instructions as restrictive but as a gift from God that marked them as God’s special people. How does it change if we think of these as instructions for living instead of commandments?
- Why are rules not only necessary, but helpful? [Without rules, we end up in chaos. Imagine playing a game with no rules. Not only would we not know who wins, we are not likely to enjoy playing such a game.]
- These instructions for life enable the people of Israel to live in such a way that marks them as God’s special people. Instead of constraining, how are these instructions freeing? [By keeping these commandments or instructions, they were freed to be God’s people and not enslaved by idols.]
- How is a wedding covenant an appropriate analogy for the instructions given in this passage?
- How are the baptismal covenant and Communion liturgy invitations (and instructions) to live the life God would have for us? How might these invite us to love our neighborhood and creation more deeply?
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:
Giver of life, we are reminded that Jesus invited us to live in abundance – abundance of grace, mercy, truth, justice, and love. Help us to see that to love your ways is to love you and that to extend love to our neighbors is another way that we love you. Give us the grace to extend forgiveness and grace to all we encounter this coming week. Amen.