Holiness in our Midst

Holiness in our Midst: Session 41

 

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION XLI: ON JESUS’ QUESTIONS

Jesus was a question-asker supreme. His first questions were directed to his parents at the Temple: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

(Luke 2:49 NIV). He cried out the last one from the Cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mat. 27:46 NIV). Throughout his ministry, his everyday questions stirred those along his path to think more deeply, consciously and reverently.  The estimates of the number of questions Jesus asked in the New Testament differ; some say as high as 307. What we do know is that he asked thought-provoking (even enemy-provoking) questions at every turn. Here is a sampling:

“Who do you say I am?” (Mat. 16:15 NIV).
“How many loaves do you have?” (Mark 6:38 NIV)
“Do you love me?” (John 21:17 NIV)
“What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24: 17 NIV)
“Who touched me?” (Luke 8:45 NIV)
“Does any man condemn you? Neither do I, condemn thee. Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:10 KJV)

The question that currently speaks to me in the midst of a season when politics, weather, and world events seem to have gone wild is: “Why are you so afraid?” (Mat. 8:26 NIV). Jesus asked this question before he stilled the storm. I hold the scene on the Sea of Galilee in my mind as I entrust my storms to the One who calmed the waves so long ago.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Which of Jesus’ questions currently speaks to your heart?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. A faithful Bible class at a Church of the Brethren in North Carolina kept track every week of what prayers the class members shared and how each prayer was answered. The class even tracked a category of prayers that they called “Unspokens.” That latter category reminded me that there are prayers that we do not wish to share with a whole group. For journal reflection, call forth your deepest prayer needs by picturing Jesus asking you the question that he asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51 NIV).

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1. Read aloud Session XLI.    
  2. Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison atcommunications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

Holiness in our midst: Session 40

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION XL: ON FIRST STEPS

What is your dream for the coming year? What is the first step toward realizing it?

In lieu of resolutions, I’ve challenged myself to name a dream and do the first step towards achieving it. New Year’s dream is to go back to graduate school and complete my Master’s Degree in English at Iowa State University. I plan to call my contacts there by Jan. 15. There it is, my dream in writing!

Dreams die for many reasons, not the least is failure to take the first step. Nevertheless, dreams are worth stating and working toward. Here are some helpful notes about what we may face along the way and some suggestions to aid in those dreams coming true:

 

  • Expect early roadblocks.
  • Deal head on with unrealistic expectations of yourself and others.  
  • Make it doable.
  • Team with others.
  • Pray to the One “who makes all things new.”

 

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: What is your dream for the New Year? What is a first step (with a concrete deadline) you can take today toward making it come true?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write a journal reflection on dreams that have come true in your life. What is your latest dream? What is a first step?

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1. Read aloud Session XL.
  2. Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.