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March 2020

Mar

Out of the Depths

Selah - Life in a Minor Key

Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A

Psalm 130 provides a proper ending to the series and an anticipation of what is to come. The psalm is a cry from the depths of pain or despair. And there is no clear resolution, no clear fix to the brokenness; the separation still abides. And yet, there is hope.

Selah: Life in a Minor Key - Out of the Depths

Psalm 130

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, take turns sharing stories of a time when you were in discomfort or pain (emotionally, spiritually, or physically).

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)

Read: Psalm 130

  • The difference between complaint and lament has been stated this way: In complaint we cry out about God; whereas, in lament we cry out to God (Stephen Farris, “Homiletical Perspective on Psalm 130,” Feasting on the Word, Year A Vol. 2, p.131 cited in “Sermon Notes for Lent”). Is it appropriate to lament to God? [There’s a book of the Bible entitled Lamentations, so yes.] What sort of things might we lament to God? [atrocities, grief, pain, isolation, hunger, etc.] How might lamenting to God in the presence of the body of Christ be reassuring?
  • How do you feel about waiting? Do you welcome it or dread it? Why do you think waiting is seen as a positive posture toward God? (v. 5)
  • What difference does it make to have someone who “waits” with us? How does the church function in a similar role?
  • As we look ahead to Good Friday, read Luke 23:39-43. How are we like the person on the cross next to Jesus asking, “Remember me”?
  • Read or sing the spiritual below and then answer the following: “Notice the final line of the refrain, ‘Glory hallelujah.’ Why do you think the writer could affirm that?” [Because Jesus knows when nobody else does!] If appropriate, end your group’s time by singing the spiritual one last time.

Suggested Spiritual
Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Refrain:
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen,
Nobody knows but Jesus.
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen,
Glory hallelujah.

Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down,
Oh, yes, Lord!
Sometimes I'm almost to the ground,
Oh, yes, Lord! O [Refrain]

Although you see me going 'long so,
Oh, yes, Lord!
I have my troubles here below,
Oh, yes, Lord! O [Refrain]

What makes old Satan hate me so?
Oh, yes, Lord!
‘Cause he got me once and let me go,
Oh, yes, Lord! O [Refrain]

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

Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following together:

God, who has experienced human suffering in Jesus Christ, remind us that we are never alone. Help us to experience Hallelujahs during times of grief and suffering. May we have the peace that passes all understanding. Guide our minds and our steps to be focused on the future that you are bringing in all that we do and say. Amen.

Additional Resources

Books:

Songs of Zion (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1981)

Soul Reset: Breakdown, Breakthrough, and the Journey to Wholeness by Junius Dotson (Nashville: The Upper Room, 2019)

Websites:

Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Purple

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes