We are moving through a profound season of political turmoil, a national racial reckoning, and the end stages of a pandemic. These calamities have brought disruption into the world, our communities, friendships, families, and our internal well-being. As we wonder how to feel our feelings and be resilient in a new normal, it helps to look to people who have gone before us into seasons of trouble.
This series of Bible studies are excerpts of letters from the first parents of Christian faith to communities of new Christians. All were experiencing trial, hardship, famine, persecution, and even plagues. May the Holy Spirit‘s voice through their ancient words mentor us as we hold our souls and each other.
A pastoral word: these studies and their questions are guidelines to help small groups look for Jesus together. If the Holy Spirit leads you towards a different way than the questions here, you have every freedom to go there. Pray for wisdom (James 1:5), listen for God’s leadership, and follow. Trust God will give you the way forward.
These small group Bible studies point us and our communities towards Jesus and our neighbors in this time of trouble. We feel the temptation to enter into denial or panic, to self-medicate or self-soothe. Going to God and intimacy, yielding to God’s leadership, and practicing faithfulness to lead in the places God has called you develop resiliency and helps us become who God has called us to become.
An Adjusted Prayer of St. Francis
Let this slightly modified version of a classic prayer guide you and your community through this series and in the season ahead.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is fear, let me sow love Where there is isolation, friendship
Where there is panic, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be healthy as to heal
To be comfortable, as to bring comfort
To be loved, as to love
For it is in Christ‘s giving that we receive
And it’s in His hands that we are made clean
And it’s in His death that we are born to Eternal Life
Study 1 (Romans 8:18-28)
Study 2 (1 Peter 5:1-11)
Study 3 (Phil 4:4-13)
Study 4 (Isaiah 46:1-7)