During the long weekend for many we still gathered around the table to consider scripture and listen to God speaking. We opened in prayer after a little bit of musical chairs and started checking in. The homework had been reflecting on the process of spending time with Jonah, writing a mini sermon (hearing mini sermons), and reading Jonah again — AND thinking if there were topics that might be of interest to consider all together.
There was some time reflecting on when there had been a musical based on Jonah & how much fun all of that was (major thanks goes to Ann about this I think!). This reflection brought laughter and while I did not create or see it, I imagine it invited all into the story (scripture) in a different way and making it come alive for folks! Others recognized that the focus of creating a mini sermon allowed them to think about the audience they would be sharing the sermon with and that shifted where they focused on Jonah since everyone hearing the sermon would be familiar with the story (something always good to keep in mind — who we are speaking with at any given time!). In general it seemed folks enjoyed, noticed some different things, & especially found that in listening to all the sermons being shared the scripture was opened up because people noticed and emphasized different themes or insights. Spending extended time with scripture, with the help of the Holy Spirit often (always?) will reveal to us that there is so much MORE to notice, and what God highlights in one reading might not be what is emphasized in the 2nd or 3rd or 4th reading….while the words (if you are reading the same translation) do not change we do change and so by grace we grow in our ability to hear and understand more of what God is saying (and we need to hear different things occasionally at different times in our lives!).
After hearing these reflections all were invited to share any topics that they would be interested in considering together. While not all shared many did and included topics of:
- Prayer (resources)
- Considering what specific scriptures mean (Be all things to all people; growing in the knowledge of Him)
- Asking — Is God’s Will always done?
- the Holy Spirit
- Attitudes of the heart (where do we go wrong)
- the Passion of the Psalms/David (being a zealot)
- looking at Matthew 25
Now…y’all don’t be too surprised if some of these topics come up & if you (and we) all spend some more time with them….get ready!
Following this we turned to scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 15:1-11. After hearing this read once and leaving space for silence we began sharing where the Holy Spirit was leading. Folks noticed the emphasis on community (brother) — that there was a distinction on how different folks were taken care of/charged. We noticed too that the scripture didn’t always really seem clear…there will always be poor/there won’t need to always be poor. A question or two about how much this really worked, did it happen…questions about who is supposed to take care of who – including what role the Church has (as compared to government). The questions, thoughts and insights were rich – which brought us to the homework for the week, considering and answering the following:
- How does your faith and reading/understanding of scripture influence or shape how you think about, talk about, and use money?
It’s a good one to consider y’all. And a real one. How are we supposed to steward the resources we have been entrusted with? Happy chewing on this one & I can’t wait to hear what y’all think!
In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater