Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bible Study Materials for February 5th 2006

Isaiah 40:21-31:

In his final journal on March 28th 1996, Henri Nouwen wrote the following reflection:
“During the Eucharist this morning we talked about God’s covenant. God says ‘I am your God and will be faithful to you even when you won’t be faithful to me.’ Through human history, this divine faithfulness is shown to us in God’s increasing desire for intimacy. At first God was the God for us, our protector and shield. Then when Jesus came, God became the God with us, our companion and friend. Finally, when Jesus sent the Spirit, God was revealed to us as the God within us, our very breath and heartbeat.
Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives? Without this “place” of return, our journey easily leads us to darkness and despair. But with this safe and solid home, we can keep renewing our faith, and keep trusting that the many setbacks of life move us forward to an always greater bond with the God of the covenant.”

What does it mean to have God with us in our lives ?
Can we understand the words of the prophet in our world today?
Do these words resonate within us in our modern society?
Have we, like the ancient Israelites, forgotten God?
Are these words inspiring or intimidating?

Read carefully the words of verses 30 & 31 … and consider the following:

Watching the obedience trials at a dog show, I was fascinated as one man led his Sheltie through the difficult tasks of the “utility class”. “Utility” is the third level of obedience training. The dog finished the course with 296.5 out of a possible 300 points.
Most dogs if properly trained, have the ability to become a utility dog. What made this particular dog and his trainer, Bob different was that Bob works from a wheelchair. After the match, Bob told me his story.
Healing for Bob did not come in the form of walking again. Healing came in the form of a rugged determination to live fully despite the chair. From his wheelchair, Bob has built a garage. From his wheelchair, Bob has trained dozens of dogs as service dogs for others who need dog to assist them in living.
Soaring on eagle’s wings sometimes means flying from the seat of a wheelchair …sometimes soaring on eagles’ wings means being lifted up enough to be eagles on the highway, eagles who run or walk or who just get out of bed in the morning and just put one foot in front of the other

What does soaring on eagles’ wings mean to you?
Does soaring on eagles’ wings have to be huge actions, or will simple ones suffice?
When can you remember moments of soaring on eagles’ wings in your life?
Do Isaiah’s words resonate with the memories of that experience?
Does the example of eagles’ wings speak to your faith?
Why do you think the writer uses eagles’ wings?
Would another bird be as effective?
What attributes do we connect with eagles?

If Isaiah felt like a grasshopper in the eyes of God, I feel even smaller because I know, thanks to modern science, that we live on a planet that orbits one star – our sun. Tht star is one of the one hundred thousand million stars that make up our galaxy – the Milky Way. The Milky Way is only one of the many galaxies in the local group, and the Local Group in turn is just one of the thousands of groups and clusters of galaxies that form the largest known structures of the universe. And scientific evidence points to the possibility that the universe is still expanding. … Yet in the midst of all this grandeur, we are not hidden from God – God who has the power to create all of this, still notices us and shall renew our strength …(enough said??)

Psalm 147:
What do WE remember about God in our lives?
What do WE praise God for in our lives?

Mark 1:29-39:
Why do you think that Jesus retreated into a deserted place after the healings?
How well do we practice self-care in our lives?
How often do we put others ahead of ourselves?
What would we want to do if we had been in Peter’s mother in law’s house that day?
Does the scene offer peace and serenity, or confusion and chaos?

1 comment:

Will England said...

Very powerful, and very needed. Thank you for posting this blog. I would have never found your church otherwise.