Small Group Resources
It is in uncertain times like these that our presence with one another offers a renewed sense of peace and comfort. Our already existing small groups will continue to connect virtually. If you are not yet part of a small group, but would like to join one:
Contact Jill Harman: Jill.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our virtual doors are open and hearts have plenty of room.
Small Group Discussion Guide
Week of April 12 – April 18, 2020
Preparing for Your Small Group
Central Question: How can we change our mindset from “Fear” to “Follow”?
Message Big Idea: That by believing you may have life in His name..
Note to Group Leaders: Feel free to skip around if the discussion is going in a different direction, and don’t feel like you need to get through everything! We will offer extra copies of this sheet in case anyone wants to take it home and continue studying if you don’t get through everything. You know your group best!
Opening Prayer and Icebreaker:
Open in prayer (either you or you can ask someone from the group)
Icebreaker: None this week!
Question: This year, we weren’t able to put on our Easter pastels and have churchwide Easter Egg Hunts and do all of the things we normally do for Easter…what can we connect with the Gospel story of the resurrection by not being able to enjoy our modern Easter traditions?
Scripture: John 20:11-16 (Version CEB)
“Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher ).”
Question: How did God not adhere to expectations in John’s version of the Gospel story? What can we learn from Him not meeting our expectations for our Easter story this year?
Leader Hint: A woman came and found Jesus (gasp!). And a woman without a great reputation. Jesus wasn’t ‘there’ where he was supposed to be, where he was expected to be.
Question: At the beginning of John’s Gospel, Jesus asks his Disciples to “follow him.” And they do, a big band of misfits of all the wrong people, think of the most divisive figure you can think of, yeah them too. And us. He asks us to follow him.
What happens when Jesus asks us to follow him into emptiness and difficulty and uncertainty? AND he asks us to follow him with different people with whom we would normally spend time?
Question: What happens when we’re following Jesus, but all of a sudden, He looks like
‘the gardener’ and we can’t tell if it’s him anymore?
Scripture: In John’s Gospel, there are Seven “Follow Statements” that are:
1:37–The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus
1:40–One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
1:43–He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
8:12–I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
12:26–If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.
13:36–“Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”
21:19–And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Question: How do these statements reinforce and reassure that we continue to Follow Jesus even when he looks like the Gardener and even when we follow him into emptiness?
Leaders: i.e. We continue to delve into scripture, we continue to pray, we continue to love our neighbor, we look for the hope, etc.)
Question: The question isn’t, What if Jesus is like God. But…What if God is like Jesus?
The Closing Prayer
As you did your son, drag us out of our tombs.
There is no virtue in the world, no lifestyle choices, no amount of social justice that can pull the sun up from the East each day, Lord.
So turn our heads, even if ever so slightly, toward the dawn, so that we may know that it is your grace that both raises the sun and raises the dead.
Even if we have given up, yank us out of our graves of choice.
Rescue us from despairing.
When we return to tombs that are no longer meant for us:
revive old resentments,
pick up a drink after years of sobriety;
again give pieces of our hearts to that which can never love us back,
remind us that you never tire of reaching into tombs and loving us back to life.
Comfort the dying, Lord.
Revive the faltering.
Grant us joy and make our song Alleluia…not because we aren’t paying attention, but because we are.