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April 20, 2014–Quakes of Fear and Joy

Contributed by Bryan Jaster, Winchester, VA


Warm-up Question

Have you ever been in an earthquake?  Where were you and what happened?

Quakes of Fear and Joy

On April 1st, 2014, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast shook Chile.  The next day a 7.6 magnitude struck the region.  Landslides, power outages, collapsed buildings, and people fleeing homes resulted.   Tsunami warnings sprang up and first responders were on high alert.

Almost one million people were evacuated.  About 300 prisoners escaped from a prison in Iquique, a northern port city in Chile.  Traffic clogged the many of northern Chile’s streets.  Fear spread as people remembered an 8.8 magnitude quake on February 27, 2010, which killed 500 people and triggered a building toppling tsunami.

In the hours after, a surprising, different story sprang up.  Well planned and executed evacuations saved countless lives.  Most homes and skyscrapers survived unscathed due to well followed building codes developed in response to past earthquakes.  Most of the escaped inmates turned themselves in a week after the quakes.  People have returned home thankful for life.  While the quakes struck fear, the community is now moved by joy and thanksgiving for new life.


Discussion Questions

  • If you had been in the earthquake in Chile, how do you think you would have acted?  Are you surprised the prisoners returned to jail?
  • Should Chile be afraid of future earthquakes?  What have they learned?
  • When has your fear turned into joy?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, April 20, 2014 (Resurrection of our Lord, Easter Sunday)

Acts 10:34-43

Colossians 3:1-4

Matthew 28:1-10

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.


Gospel Reflection

Easter2014editToday is Easter.  There are flowers, bunnies, chocolate, fancy clothes and joyous songs.  Families gather; crowds worship; good food is eaten and familiar stories are told.

Let’s look more closely at the Easter story from Matthew.  It begins with an earthquake and in fear.

Fear:  The One who they thought might be the messiah may be yet another failure and is gone.

Fear:  When the angel rolled away the stone.  Read again:  “the guards shook and became like dead men.”

Fear:  It was beating in the hearts of the two women named Mary who rushed from the tomb to tell the disciples.

Fear:  When the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples.

And yet, in the Easter story with earthquakes there is joy.  

Joy:  When the women receive the message that indeed Jesus is no longer dead, but risen.

Joy:  The angel beckons the women to tell the disciples he is alive and you will see him in Galilee. They run to tell this news.

Joy: Jesus’ presence and greeting moves the disciples to worship.

Joy:  Jesus gives the disciples a new mission to go and tell.

Easter has quakes of fear and joy present together.  As much as we see the happy, bright side of Easter when we gather today, remember this: The risen Jesus brings both quakes of holy fear and joy into the world.  On this first day of a new week, hear the news that Jesus comes into the world’s quakes, inviting you to witness to resurrection in the middle of both fear and joy. 

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think the soldiers were afraid of the angel?  Why were the two women named Mary afraid?   Why were the disciples afraid?  Would you have responded as they did?  Why or why not?
  • When has your life been shaken?  How did you get through it?   Why were you afraid?  Did you find joy?
  • As you celebrate Easter, what message do you tell to others?  What does the risen Jesus want you to do?

Activity Suggestions

  • Think of a way you as a group can tell and show the Good News of Christ’s resurrection in your home or in your community.  Do it.
  • Make a plan to visit someone whose life has been filled with fear.  Bring that person food, balloons, cards, candy, tell jokes, and do whatever might bring joy.  Consider a mini parade.
  • Travel to a neighboring town.  Listen and look for ways that Jesus is alive in that community.

Closing Prayer

God of the empty tomb, help us to see you in all of life’s fears and joys.  As earthquakes come, may our fears be transformed into the joy of knowing you.  Help us to go and tell the news that you are alive in our homes, streets, schools and world.  Thank you for the death and resurrection of your Son today.  Amen.

November 10, 2013–There Are No Zombies in Heaven (But God would love them if they existed)

Contributed by Dennis Sepper, Tacoma, WA


Warm-up Question

What do you think happens after a person dies?  What do you think heaven will be like?

Zombies Everywhere

shutterstock_59728765editIt seems these days you cannot walk six feet without running into a zombie!  The Walking Dead set a record recently for the largest viewing audience watching a season opening television show (and it was the fourth season).  The Internet Movie Database lists some 53 (yes…53!) movies released or about to be released in 2013 alone that have zombies as characters in the movie.  The list goes from World War Z (which got the most hype because of Brad Pitt) to, I am not making this up, A Zombie Love Song.  Finally, at the university where I work the student body just participated in Zombie Zumba (It seems even the undead need to keep fit).

It appears there is a cycle when the popularity of witches, vampires, werewolves and zombies rise and fall and now it is the zombies turn to be most popular.  This is true, not just in the United States, but all around the world.  Professor Sarah Lauro of Clemson University has studied Zombie Walks (basically a flash mob, but the participants dress as zombies).  Dr. Lauro has documented zombie walks in 20 countries, the largest drawing over 4,000 participants.  Dr. Lauro believes that when times are unsure and people feel more powerless about their lives for the future, zombies gain popularity.

Zombies represent death and our fears.  They are the great leveler as all people are plagued with the undead.  And we root for the movie or TV hero who has the courage, strength and wisdom to take care of the zombies as they symbolically take care of our fears and our fear of death.

Discussion Questions

  • So where do you stand on zombies?  Are you a fan?  Why or why not?
  • Why do you think zombies are so popular these days?  Do you think they symbolize our fear of things?  Why or why not?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, XXXXXX (SEASON)

 Job 19:23-27a

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

Luke 20:27-38

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.


Gospel Reflection

At the beginning of this week’s text, we are told that the Sadducees who do not believe in the resurrection come to Jesus with a hypothetical question.  They are not people seeking knowledge from Rabbi Jesus, they are trying to make Jesus and the belief in the resurrection look foolish.  To understand their trick question we need to know a little bit about first century society.  There was an ancient Levite law that is described in verses 28.  This may sound funny to us today but it was a way that the community took care of widows who faced a very bad future if they had no family to take of them.  The Sadducees offer up the crazy scenario we read about in verses 29-33 where one women ends up the bride of seven brothers.  The Sadducees want to know whose wife she will be in the resurrection.

Jesus doesn’t take the bait.  Instead Jesus points out that in the resurrection all things will be made new and the legal structures that hold our society together will not be needed.  We will all be so close and held together in the love of God and Jesus that marriage as we know it will not be necessary.  So, says Jesus, there is no sense to the question that the Sadducees pose.

Jesus then goes on to say that even Moses spoke of the resurrection when Moses stated that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…he didn’t say that God was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The implication of the present tense instead of the past tense is that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still living and dwell in the presence of God.

For us as Christians today, we proclaim our faith in the resurrection based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  We base that faith, that trust on the words of Jesus (for example: “I am the resurrection and the life.”  John 11:25 and “because I live, you also will live.”  John 14:19) and on the testimony of those like Paul who experienced the resurrected Jesus in their lives.  We hold tight to the promise that we will be reunited with our loved ones and those who have gone before us.

Two things come of that faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of our own resurrection.  First, we need not fear death for to us it is not an end but as one of the funeral prayers puts it “the gate to eternal life”.  We are free then to live a life of service to God and to our neighbor.  In that way the resurrection is not just some future hope, it is at work in our lives and in our families and in our communities this very day.

Second, in the resurrection our relationships do change and we are all reconciled to God and to each other.  For those of us who have families where there has been strife and division (sometimes family members do not even speak to one another) there is the hope and promise that those broken relationship will be reconciled and healed in the resurrection and we shall all sit before the throne of God and Jesus as one family.

As for those zombies we see everywhere…we know they do not really exist, but we can continue to enjoy being scared while watching the TV shows or movies or we can join others in the video game world fighting the zombies off.  But we do so knowing that in the end Jesus has won the victory over death, sin and evil.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the common images we associate with heaven?  Where do they come from? What are those images and descriptions trying to say about the Christian understanding of the afterlife?
  • What difference does it make in how you live your daily life that you believe in the Resurrection?  How would you live differently if you were absolutely convinced that there is no heaven, no afterlife?

Activity Suggestion

Materials needed:

  • Balloons for all participants (balloons strong enough to be drawn upon).
  • Sharpies to draw on the balloons.
  • Straight pins for all participants.

Pass out balloons to all participants and let them blow up the balloons.  Instruct the participants to turn their balloon into a zombie by decorating it.  When all have finished, form a circle and pray the closing prayer below.  Then all together at the count of three, have the participants burst the balloons with their pin.  Explain that the balloons represent our fears and through the grace of God and the resurrection of Jesus our fears are burst and we can freely serve God and neighbor.

Closing Prayer

All Sovereign and Loving God, you love your creation and all peoples in it.  Give us such a strong confidence in your mercy and care that we may not fear but serve you and our neighbor with joyful and grateful hearts.  You promise that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we are in your divine embrace today and for all eternity.  Help us to trust in this promise every day of our lives and proclaim that promise in word and deed.  In your most holy name we pray.  Amen.

January 6, 2013–Keeping the Faith On the Journey

Contributed by Jen Krausz, Bethlehem, PA


Warm-up Question

Do you think a Christian counselor can successfully counsel someone of another faith? Why or why not?

Keeping the Faith On the Journey

Bentley, a British automaker, fired its Christian chaplain of ten years just days before Christmas because they felt he might make workers of other faiths uncomfortable. Reverend Francis Cooke had visited the Crewe, Chester factory once a week for ten years before he was fired.

None of the workers ever complained about Cooke and, in fact, have started a petition to bring him back to the factory. Retired employee John Austin, 67, said, “He was there for a lot of people. I know one individual who was feeling suicidal, but Francis turned him around. He was a very important man at the factory.”

Cooke offered counseling services to workers of all faiths, not just Christians. He was employed by Bentley; it was his only paid work. “My position is to help people and not just those who are Christians,” Cooke said in an interview. “’It is not just about offering religious services. I provide counseling to workers who have stresses at home such as broken marriages. I would spend a few minutes with each person which would be enough to help them feel better.”

“Everyone is really angry about it,” one worker said to a British newspaper. “To do this just before Christmas is shocking.”

A Bentley spokesperson stated, “We have a wide range of faiths and want to take a multi-faith outlook. It would be very difficult to have somebody from each faith.”


Discussion Questions

  • Do you think it was right for Bentley to fire Rev. Cooke? Why or why not?
  • Can you think of a better way to resolve the problem while allowing Rev. Cooke to keep his job?
  • How should a chaplain treat someone of a different faith?
  • Should Bentley reinstate Rev. Cooke if most or all of their employees want him back?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, January 6, 2013 (Epiphany of our Lord)

Isaiah 60:1-6

Ephesians 3:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.


Gospel Reflection

If you have grown up attending church, you probably take the story of Jesus’ birth for granted. You are very familiar with the journey to Bethlehem, the birth in a manger, the shepherds being notified by angels, and the wise men coming to give expensive gifts to the baby. In reality many improbable events surround the birth of Jesus. The wise men of this part of the gospel account came from nations that persecuted the Jews for centuries, yet they had enough faith in the star they saw to follow it for at least a year. They were obviously familiar with the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, even though they did not belong to the same culture or belief system.

Why did they want to see the baby king? A commentary suggests that it was because they saw his birth as the beginning of a new age of peace between their nations and the Israelites.  The wise men wanted to give gifts to the new king, but they accidentally let Herod know about the birth of one who (he thought) could put him out of a job. Understandably, Herod was threatened.

In spite of the threat their questions created for baby Jesus, the Wise Men were also the ones through whom God worked to save Jesus from that threat. Once they offered their gifts and worship, they disobeyed orders and avoided Herod so they wouldn’t have to tell him where they had found their king.

This account shows that God can work in the lives of people with any amount of faith and understanding. Indeed, we may have very little understanding of God’s purposes, but God uses those who are willing to follow to accomplish those purposes.

May you look back on the story of your life and find that God has used you mightily in accomplishing great things in the world, even though you might not have understood it fully at the time.

Discussion Questions

  •  So much violence is the result of misunderstandings between people. What misunderstandings led to Herod wanting to kill the baby Jesus?
  • Those in charge of the Bentley factory may have something in common with Herod in that they feel threatened by the presence Christ in their factory (working through Rev. Cooke). How is that a misunderstanding? Is there any way to resolve such a misunderstanding? If so, how?
  • Can you look back and see a time when God worked in your life or in someone else’s? How does that make you feel to realize it now? How did it feel when you were going through it?
  • Do you think it’s better to keep God out of workplaces and schools? Why or why not? Is that really even possible; what do people mean when they talk about “keeping God out of schools…or workplaces”?
  •  One reader of a news article about Rev. Cooke’s firing stated that in England, “multi-faith outlook usually means no Christians.” Why do you think people would omit Christianity, the faith with the largest amount of followers?

Activity Suggestions

Write a brief letter to the editor stating your opinion about Rev. Cooke’s firing. Send or email it to your local newspaper or to a British newspaper that has covered the story (google can give some of those).

Closing Prayer

Lord God, thank you for being a God who enters our lives personally, first through Jesus, and even now through the Holy Spirit. Help us to understand other faiths well enough to bridge chasms, continuing to show your love in all situations. And show us the ways in which you are working in our lives every day. We praise you and thank you in Jesus’ name, Amen.

May 20, 2012–Caps and Frowns

Contributed by Paul Henrickson, Salem, VA


Warm-up Questions

What if Jesus prayed for you?

  • Would it be the same as the prayer in John 17 which he prayed for his disciples?
  • Would he pray that you would be “sanctified?”
  • Would Jesus pray for your PROTECTION or for your PURIFICATION or both?

Caps and Frowns

Begin by reading following online articles about job prospects for new graduates.  Note the chart “Caps and Frowns:  Job prospects for the class of 2012.”

Whether you’re in high school or college, the employment outlook is not encouraging.  This raises some important questions for people of faith.

  • Would God really call us to be unemployed?
  • Do we need a broader understanding of “calling?”
  • How do faithful people respond to the “new economic reality?”
  • What is our true “vocation?”


Discussion Questions

  • What do you envision as your future?
  • What is your dream?
  • What are you planning to do after graduation from High School/College?
  • What is your calling?
  • Are you looking for security or meaning?
  • Do you want to be Protected or Purified?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, May 20, 2012 (Seventh Sunday of Easter)

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

1 John 5:9-13

John 17:6-19

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.


Gospel Reflection

This is part of the “Priestly Prayer” of Jesus in the 17th Chapter of John.  These four verses seem to sum up the core of the prayer of Jesus for his disciples – for Jesus’ disciples today:

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.*  They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth

There are three points worth noting:

We are IN the world, not OF the world.

  • We have been claimed by Christ to be those redeemed.
  • We are no longer under Satan’s rule (this world), but God’s rule.

We are protected.

  • “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
  •  The power of evil gets too little attention from today’s Christian.
  • From Luther’s Large Catechism: “If you could see how many daggers, spears, and  arrows are at every moment aimed at you, you would be glad to come to  the sacrament as often as possible.”

We are being “made holy.”

  • We have been “sanctified – made holy”  from Late Latin sanctificāre, from Latin sanctus holy + facere to make

Discussion Questions

  •  How would you live your life today if you really believed that God was doing His work on you to “make you holy?”
  • What does it mean for you to be IN the world not OF the world?

Activity Suggestions

  •  Write a prayer that Jesus might pray for you.
  • Imagine a day in your life where your sanctification was a 24 hour activity.
  • Read the newspaper and find places where sanctification is required.

Closing Prayer

There is no better prayer for protection and sanctification than Psalm 141.  In your group, slowly read the psalm together as a prayer, perhaps pausing briefly after each verse.  As you read, think of those who are in particular need of God’s care, and pray for them.

January 15, 2012–Revelations

Contributed by Scott Mims, Virginia, Beach, VA


Warm-up Question

  • What is your favorite holiday or season in the church (liturgical) year?  What about this season or event is most special to you?
  • We are just starting the season of Epiphany. Epiphany means “revelation,” or “to make someone/something known.”  Going back to your answers from above, what are some of the things that are revealed or made known about God in your favorite celebrations?


When Kim Jong Il, then Supreme Leader of North Korea, died unexpectedly on December 17, 2011, his death not only made headlines but raised anxiety on the part of many across the globe. Fearful of problems associated with a power struggle in the North, or even of the nation’s collapse, forces in South Korea were placed on high alert, while other nations sought to reach out through diplomatic channels.

Adding to the uncertainty was the revelation that Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un, was his chosen successor.  Little is known outside North Korea of Kim Jong Un who, in his late 20’s, has been hailed by officials and the state media in North Korea with titles such as, “Great Successor, Supreme Leader and Great Leader.”  Most recently, he was officially recognized as the Supreme Commander of North Korea’s armed forces.  While North Korea has called for its people to rally behind Kim Jong Un and to protect him as “human shields,” many around the world continue to deal with the uncertainty of what his age and inexperience may mean for international relations in the years to come.

Discussion Questions

  •  As we begin a new year, how optimistic are you about the way things are going in the world?  How optimistic are you about the future? (You might have your group rate their response on a scale of 1 (very worried/pessimistic) to 10 (very optimistic). )
  • If you are optimistic, what gives you the greatest hope?  If you are not optimistic, what are some of your greatest worries?
  • How much difference do events that happen in other parts of the world make in your own life?  Do you believe that you can make a difference in the world?
  • Note some of the titles given to Kim Jong Un (Great Successor, Supreme Leader, Great Leader, Supreme Commander), what do these say about who or what people hope he will be?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, January 15, 2012 (Second Sunday after Epiphany)

1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

John 1:43-51

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.


Gospel Reflection

The way in which we read or hear something can make all of the difference.  One way to read these verses is simply as John’s account of how Jesus called his first disciples.  Yet, as a writer, John is a master at drawing in his audience through double meanings and a “deeper”, more personal sense of the story.  Such is the case in this passage as Jesus addresses not just around him, but us as well, with an invitation to life.

In any case, the first three words of this passage, “The next day,” clue us in to the fact that we need to go back a bit to understand what’s going on. As it turns out, this is actually the third “next day” section in the opening chapter of John’s gospel.  In the first section, verses 29 – 34, “the next day” after John the Baptist explains his role to those sent from Jerusalem, he bears witness to Jesus as both the Lamb of God and Son of God.  The “next day” after this                 (verses 35 – 43), his further testimony about Jesus leads two of his own disciples to follow after Jesus.  Jesus, seeing them, asks, “What are you looking for?” When they stammer out, “Rabbi, where are you staying,” Jesus invites them to “Come and see.”  His invitation initiates an ever-widening circle of discipleship as one of the two, Andrew, goes to his own brother, Simon Peter, with the news, “We have found the Messiah.”

So it is that we come to the “next day” of this week’s gospel. Deciding to go to Galilee, Jesus first calls Philip.  Philip, in turn, invites Nathanael saying, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”  Here, “the law and the prophets” means the whole of the Scriptures for these Jewish believers.  Brushing aside Nathanael’s remark about the insignificance of Nazareth, Philip offers once again the invitation, “Come and see.”  Nathanael does, and his own encounter with Jesus, and Jesus’ ability to “know” and “see” him from afar, not only leads Nathanael to believe in Jesus, it also draws forth a confession of faith: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”  Jesus assures him that greater things are yet to come. ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

So, as the first chapter of his gospel ends, John leaves us with Jesus heading towards Galilee with a growing group of followers.  Yet, there is a deeper way to hear this passage.  Jesus’ very first words in John’s gospel, “What are you looking for?” are a question to us, as well.  When it comes to life…when it comes to faith, what are we looking for?  Deep down in our bones, what is it that we really need?  In these three “next days,” we hear Jesus being called many things.  John the Baptist calls him “the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin” and “Son of God.”  Andrew calls him, “Rabbi” and “Messiah.”  Philip says Jesus is the one, “about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote.”  Nathanael adds that Jesus is, “the King of Israel.”  Is Jesus what we are looking for?  Is he the one that we really need?  The invitation that John offers to us through the rest of his gospel account, and indeed through our own experience of living as followers of Jesus, is simply to “Come and see.”

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think this particular gospel reading was chosen for today?  In what ways is Jesus being revealed and by whom?
  • When it comes to the titles and names given to Jesus in John 1:29-51, (Lamb of God, Messiah, Son of God, Rabbi, King of Israel, Son of Man) which one is most important or most meaningful to you?  Why?
  • If you had been Philip and Jesus had just walked up to you and said, “Follow me,” would you have gone?  If so, why?  If not, then what further information would you have needed?  What else would you have wanted to know before making such a commitment?  Do you think we have this information now?
  • What does it look like to you to follow Jesus?  Is following Jesus different from believing in him?  Why or why not?
  • Nathanael came to Jesus because Philip invited him to “come and see.”  What do you think would be the best way to invite a friend of yours to “come and see” Jesus today?  What are some approaches that might not work so well with your friends or in your setting?

Activity Suggestions

  • As an opening activity, you might try a Trust Walk experience.  One variation is to have a single leader and the rest of the group blind folded; another variation is to break the group up into partners who take turns being the guide/ blind folded.  Groups with a single leader might have everyone place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them, or hold on with one hand to a large rope that connects the whole group.  The goal for the leader(s) is to guide those who follow safely along a route.  The goal for those who are blind folded is to experience what it is like to trust others as they follow.  Debrief:  What was the experience like for you?  Is it easy or difficult for you to trust someone else to guide you?  How is having “faith” like a “Trust Walk?”
  • Going Deeper: For further discussion on the sheer grace of being called to follow Jesus, watch Rob Bell’s short video, Dust (Nooma series).  Though not specifically about this passage, he presents a great take on what being called to “Follow me,” by a rabbi meant in Jesus’ day, and how Jesus’ invitation to Andrew, Peter, James, John, Philip, Nathanael and the rest would have been most unusual.  Talk together about what it means that Jesus calls us to be his followers.  What does it mean to you that Jesus believes in you?  Does this change the way you see yourself as a disciple?
  • Reaching Out: As a group, explore ways to invite your friends to “come and see” Jesus.  How would you go about it?  Would you hold an event of some sort?  Would you invite them to a service project? A retreat?  A play or music festival?  A coffeehouse?  A specially designed worship service?  What activities are you already doing that are, or could be, great places for friends to experience God’s love and grace? How might you use social media or other modern means to invite folks?  What “barriers” might need to be overcome? Brainstorm the possibilities – can you make a plan to try one or more of these possibilities out during this season of Epiphany?

Closing Prayer

Gracious and loving God, we live in uncertain and anxious times, and yet we also have much that gives us hope.  As your Spirit continues to reveal Jesus to us, so help us to respond to his invitation to “Come and see,” that, led and sustained by Jesus’ presence among us, we may live as vibrant and faithful witnesses to your love; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen!