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September 2020

Sep

Strike the Rock

Through the Wilderness

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

What if the theme for the week, “Strike the Rock,” becomes a call for deeper living? “Strike the rock” means lean on God, trust in Jesus. Strike the rock means find the joy even in difficult moments, even in the wilderness. Striking the rock is trusting that there is a way forward even when it seems like there is no way. Striking the rock is a declaration of faith, even when it seems like giving up makes more sense.

Week 4: Strike the Rock

Exodus 17:1-7

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 difficult time or experience in their life.

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)

Read Exodus 17:1-7

  • How do you think the elders of Israel replied to Moses’s insistence that God was telling him to strike a rock to meet the need of having water to drink? Do you think they believed because of other instances they had seen God deliver? Do you think they believed Moses had finally gone mad?
  • Like last week, this passage also begins with the people grumbling. Why do you think they were nostalgic for a period of their lives that included slavery and misery (17:3)? [Part of the answer is probably that they experienced certainty in Egypt, while their current circumstances were constantly perilous. The other part is that they seemed to have selective memory, remembering only the good aspects while downplaying or forgetting the difficult parts.] Why do you think many churches tend to be nostalgic for previous times instead of hopeful for what God will do in the future?
  • What is missing from this story? [There is no indication of praising or celebrating what God has done!] What might that say about the relationship between God, Moses, and the people?
  • Did you know that our brains are wired to remember the bad times more than celebrate the good times? This tendency kept our ancestors safe as they remembered what not to do! (Also, think about a child touching a hot stove; he/she will certainly remember not to do so again.) What practices can we put in place to help us remember and celebrate positive experiences? How is this like “striking a rock” in our lives?

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:

God of resurrection and new life, we give you thanks for what you have done for our ancestors and for us. We praise you when we glimpse how you are at work in our current circumstances. We place our trust and hope in what you will do through us and those that come after us. Even during difficult days, empower us to remain steadfast in who you are and what you are and will do. Amen.

Additional Resources

Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org

Engaging Your Community: A Guide to Seeing All the People, https://store.umcdiscipleship.org/product/engaging-your-community-a-guide-to-seeing-all-the-people-2/

Forming Disciples Through Worship, https://store.umcdiscipleship.org/product/forming-disciples-through-worship/

“Making the Most of Online Small Groups,” https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/making-the-most-of-online-small-groups

Online Teaching Series – “How to Start Small Groups,” https://discipleship-ministries.teachable.com/courses/

In This Series...


Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes