This session brings to an end the first term looking at God the Father.
We end with a passage from Isaiah 7 which for Christians speaks of the promise of Jesus.
This session will look back over the past sessions, as well as looking forward to all that God may seek to bring to birth in us.
Spend a few moments to prepare to be open to receive from God during this reflection.
You may consider putting your phone on silent for a while. Light a candle. Get comfortable.
Spend some time reflecting on what these sessions have given you. What have you learned? What they would want to give thanks for?
At the end say this prayer:
May I prepare myself for the Word of God, as it comes me us in the reading of Holy Scripture.
Bible Study part 1 – God is extravagant
Read this passage from the Message version:
Isaiah 7:10-14 (The Message)
God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!”
But Ahaz said, “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!”
So Isaiah told him, “Then listen to this, government of David! It’s bad enough that you make people tired with your pious, timid hypocrisies, but now you’re making God tired. So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us).
Now read the passage again from the New International Version
Isaiah 7: 10-14.
In this passage – God promises an extravagant gift – in the birth of a child.
Think of ways in which God is being extravagant in his promise of this gift of Emmanuel.
Identify ways in which God is extravagant to YOU in YOUR life.
Reflect on how the church could demonstrate God’s extravagance to the world around us.
Bible Study part 2. Immanuel -God is with us
Look again at the passage – in the Message and in the NIV translation.
What does it mean for you that the name God gives to his extravagant gift is ‘Immanuel – God with us’?
How is ‘God with us’?
How is God with you?
How can we show that Immanuel – God is with us – is good news to the world?
Clear away the clutter of paper etc and settle down.
Light 1 candle.
Slowly read this Advent prayer
Open our eyes, Lord,
especially if they are half shut
because we are tired of looking,
or half open
because we fear we see too much,
or bleared with tears
because yesterday and today and tomorrow
are filled with the same pain,
because we only look at what we want to see.
Open our eyes, Lord,
to gently scan the life we lead,
the home we have,
the world we inhabit,
and so to find,
among the gremlins and the greyness,
signs of hope we can fasten on and encourage.
Give us, whose eyes are dimmed by familiarity,
a bigger vision of what you can do
even with hopeless cases and lost causes
and people of limited ability.
Show us the world as in your sight,
riddled by debt, deceit and disbelief
shot through with possibility
for recovery, renewal, redemption,
And lest we fail to distinguish vision from fantasy,
today, tomorrow, this week,
open our eyes to one person or one place,
where we – being even for a moment prophetic –
might identify and wean a potential in the waiting.
And with all this,
open our eyes, in yearning, for Jesus.
On the mountains,
in the cities,
through the corridors of power
and streets of despair
to help, to heal,
to confront, to convert,
O come, O come, Immanuel. Amen
(Iona Community, from the book Cloth for the Cradle)
This is part of a series originally compiled by Bob Callaghan and Alison Spreadbridge for St Edmund’s Church, Dartford.
Part 2 will be available in the Spring.