Week 3: By His Wounds
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 share a time of suffering or painful endurance.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: 1 Peter 2:19-25
- Take turns sharing your testimony. [When did you first become aware of God? How did you experience God’s love and acceptance? How did your life change as a result?]
- What might it mean to be “called” as Peter affirms in 1 Peter 2:21?
- What is the difference between Peter’s affirmation of endurance (v. 20), trust (v. 23), and unacceptable receiving of abuse? [It is an endurance of faith, a trust that God is present with us in our suffering. This is in contrast with continuing in a relationship that promotes harm and exploitation.]
- How have we all strayed like sheep (v. 25)? [Trusting in our own abilities or finding comfort in things that do not provide eternal joy.] How exactly have we returned to the guardian of our souls (v. 25)? [We return through trust, faith, and obedience.]
- Read Isaiah 53:4-9. How would this passage from Peter have been received as Good News to slaves (v. 18)? [Christ can relate to their suffering; they do not suffer alone; there is a greater freedom that can be experienced in any situation, no matter how unjust their present circumstances and that awaits them in fullness beyond death, etc.]
- How do Peter’s affirmations in this letter undermine unjust systems like slavery and human trafficking? [We have seen Paul’s call to love deeply from the heart, which would call into question any system that keeps people from experiencing God’s abundance. People are of invaluable worth, such that Christ would die for them, as opposed to even the most precious of materials (gold and silver).]
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of steadfast love, you call us to be loving as you are loving. Help us to see ways that we might sacrifice and give so that others might experience the abundance of joy and fullness of life that comes only from you. Empower us to work for the freedom and release of those who are captive to addiction, fear, consumerism, exploitation, abuse, and neglect, so that they might experience your freedom and love. Amen.
Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life by Eugene Peterson
Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org