Last Sunday y’all gathered round the table — I’m sure there was chatter, introductions, laughter & coffee — then was opening prayer. The check-in was the focus of the whole day really with the opportunity for all to share their mini (1 minute) sermons based on Jonah.
The sermons were varied (like the people <us> who gather round the table) and seem to have included noticing how often when we listen to the Holy Spirit (or perhaps because occasionally we don’t so well….) we have to continue listening to make sure we get the message! Also noticed was that it seems when we are able to hear the Holy Spirit speaking it really is because God has prepared us (softened our hearts or cleaned our hears out!) to be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in whatever way God is speaking! A theme that seemed present & one which even on the first Sunday we sat with Jonah together, was the ability to identify with the frustrations — with the emotions — and with the questions that Jonah experiences in this book (even & maybe especially when it might seem dramatic and/or funny!). This is beautiful, being able to see how we don’t always agree with what God asks/speaks even if we hear clearly & understand. It’s also refreshing to know that we too, (even if we’ve been trying to seek God & be faithful for more than a second!) can struggle with how FULL of grace God is, with how loving God is…when that love is directed to someone (or multiple people!) who we have deemed unworthy of God’s grace! Some of the lesson of Jonah it seems is to remind us that God is good, that God’s grace does not listen to what we want, and the reality is that God’s grace (because it is SO expansive) occasionally offends us because it doesn’t make sense — it’s God & true love!
So the sermons were shared…and what now? What is the homework following that? Well….3 things really:
- REFLECT….what was the process of creating a sermon like for you?
- Read again….after creating a sermon on Jonah & after listening to multiple mini-sermons on Jonah — go back to this book and read it again.
- Do you notice anything new? Do you read the book differently?
- Does anything become more clear? More complicated?
- Does this surprise you?
- And — a little different — if we had a topic of study to spend time with together in Adult Study — what topic (or 2!) would you want to consider?
Y’all…as we anticipate being in a different book after about a month with Jonah (though of course we could take longer!) maybe something to think of & hold is that God is always calling us to faithfulness & that faithfulness might not always or even often — look like the success & results that we might desire — God is always calling us to faithfulness…while we still struggle there, it seems a much more gentle task seeking to be faithful to the One who is always faithful & loving to us.
In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater