Wisdom in the Community (July 2021)

WISDOM IN THE COMMUNITY GROUPS: AND REFLECTION IF ON YOUR OWN

Wednesday 28th July

Wisdom in the Community Notes: John 6:24-35

Read through the passage, what are your first thoughts?

Once the crowd realised that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

Jesus the Bread of Life

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ’’Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Now read it through a second time – what are your thoughts now? If you were in that crowd that day, what would you be thinking? You’ve seen Jesus feed a huge crowd and walk on water at the beginning of this chapter – then Jesus and his disciples had disappeared.

Would your first thought be to go off in search of Jesus? And why Capernaum? Why did they ask Jesus when he got there? How would you have felt when, instead of giving you a straight answer - He criticised you for only following him because you’d been well fed? For being more concerned about the physical and temporal benefits of physical food, and not for the satisfying of your spiritual hunger? The crowd had seen the miracle – but failed to understand it.

And what do you make of this verse – “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Jesus used the title ‘the Son of Man’ about himself, why do you think that was?

How would you have felt about Jesus correcting you as a member of that Jewish crowd, that it was not Mosses who had fed the Israelites with bread from heaven in the wilderness but God who had fed them. The crowd then ask Jesus to always give them “this bread” Can you think of a similar question asked of Jesus elsewhere in the scriptures? *

Was Jesus purposely saying in the final verse “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” In order to make the crowd think of an Old Testament word for God? (I AM, read Exodus 3:14)

* the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:13-15 …….“Sir, give me this water so that Idon’t get thirsty”…….

What do you think God is telling you personally in this passage? If you’re not sure - ask Him in prayer.

Is there anything in this passage that has challenged you in any way? If so take it to God in prayer.

 

 


Wednesday 21st July

WISDOM IN THE COMMUNITY NOTES : Matthew 20: 20-28
To reflect on
1. Read though this passage some time this week
2. I wonder what in the reading catches your attention?  Mull it over with God.
3. I wonder if you can imagine the mother coming before Jesus and asking afavour of him….and of course, the request is not for herself but her sons?
4. Try to imagine the scene and perhaps put yourself in her position….then read Jesus’ answer.  What strikes you about his words?  What tone do you think he used when talking to this anxious mother?
5. Now think about all the requests you make to God through prayer...usually for others of course!  Might we pray in a way that makes demands of God rather than to give space to listen to God and just place things “before his feet”.
6. I wonder how the sons in this story were feeling about their mother’s request?  What journey do you think that they imagined going on with Christ?
7. Is that so for us?  Has our journey of life unfolded as we hoped and expected ….Talk to God about it.

 


Wednesday 14th July 2021

WISDOM GROUPS: Mark 6.30-34, 53-end
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognised them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, be-cause they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognised him,55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the mar-ketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

The selected verses for the Gospel reading for Sunday 18th July begin with an ac-count of the disciples’ return after they had been previously sent out by Jesus (Mark 6:6-13), and the traumatic account of John’s beheading (Mark 6:14-29). Ex-cluding the account of the “Feeding of the Five Thousand”, the incident when Je-sus walked on the water and the traumatic account of the beheading of John the Baptist. The disciples are now apostles [v 30], chosen, sent and with a mission and were so busy that they didn’t even have time to top to eat!

The focus of the verses is on the invitation:
‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’
Questions you might like to consider:

1.What strikes you from the reading of these verses from the Gospel of Mark?Share a word or a sentence, a feeling or a question. [Briefly!]
The disciples and Jesus were being watched and followed, we might call this stalking. Recently we had read about how Prof Chris Whitty was pursued by people apparently just wanting to take ‘selfie’ photos and there are many ex-amples of people being followed by paparazzi and the sometimes tragic con-sequences.

2.How does it make you feel to be the focus of attention, in the limelight?
Jesus response was ‘he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd’. Are there sometimes difficulties with ‘friends in need’?

3.How important do you think that taking time for contemplation is?
You might like to read how Richard Rohr prioritises contemplation:
Our Vision for Transformed Engagement with the World

Amidst a time of planetary change and disruption, we envision a recovery of our deep connection to each other and our world …... Instead of accusing others on the left or the right, Jesus stood in radical solidarity with the problem itself, hardly ever of-fering specific answers to the problem. Instead, his solidarity and compassion brought healing. In today’s religious, environmental, and political climate, our com-passionate engagement is urgent and vital. When we experience the reality of our oneness with God, others, and Creation, actions of justice and healing naturally fol-low. If we’re working to create a more whole world, contemplation can give our ac-tions nonviolent, loving power for the long haul.

 


Wednesday 7th July 2021

 

Journeying light : Mark 6; 7-13

Summary

In the Gospel, Jesus sends out the apostles in pairs to support one another, teaching others the message of love and repentance they have seen and learnt from him.  They are to carry nothing other than their staff, but to trust in God’s love and rely on the hospitality of others.  If they are not welcomed, they are not to make a scene, but simply ‘shake off the dust from under their feet’, then move on.  Let’s pray this week that we show Jesus’s message in our love for those we encounter each day.  We ask to be witnesses to the joy of our faith in the way in which we live our lives.

1. How does it feel to be trusted or singled out for a special task?  Can you recall a time?
2. How do you feel if this reading was directed to you? … being chosen and trusted to go out by Jesus, carrying virtually nothing with us ? Excited, nervous, or ...?
3. Do I feel ready?  I reflect on my own life today ... where is Jesus sending me or what might he be asking me to do?
4. What “baggage” do we carry with us through life?
5. How does it feel to trust others to help us out or to provide us with what we need?
6. What might this passage teach us about Christian hospitality ?
7. What might this reading be saying to the church of today and in this place?  How do we travel light and what might we be being asked to do?