Remembering our Story
The stories of Exodus belong to every generation. They introduce us to God’s deliverance and the possibilities of new life. But that doesn’t mean we can avoid the hardships of the wilderness or that we should shrink from the unexpected ways God can deliver us.
- Read the book of Exodus.
- Watch the Ted Talk “The Danger of a Single Story,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
SMALL GROUP SESSION AGENDA
Way and Waymaker, God of the Way out also known as God of the Exodus: Your love meets us here. Thank You for attending to the cries of Your people. Thank You for being the God who is with us. Thank You for journeying with us through every circumstance and for sitting with us in times of joy, sorrow, grief, fear, frustration, unbelief, and/or discontent. In this moment, release us from all that binds us. Strengthen us, as we wholeheartedly follow You. Give us a deeper understanding of Your will and more grace to understand one another. Sojourner God, lead the way. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.
In the gift of this moment, we affirm that we are divinely loved and lovable.
We are the children of God.
Together, we will learn from the actions and words of one another.
Christ’s lessons on love are centered in how we treat others and in how we treat ourselves.
We will exercise courage in this study as we share stories of struggle and strength.
We will stay at the table and receive those stories with grace.
We will not be afraid to launch into the deep.
We will commit to the vulnerability necessary to allow God to break us open.
We will set and respect boundaries and honor confidentiality together.
When uncertainty arises, we will remember the Spirit of “peace that passes our own understanding” and can intercede for us.
We will remember that even when we don’t feel “United,”
The uniting love of Christ can reveal a pathway to greater
wisdom and mutual respect.
No matter what, there is a place for each one of us in this study together.
Let us hold each other up in prayer, hold each other accountable in love, and
trust that our God is making all things new.
Thank you for the gift of being present to one another in this holy time.
With Rev. Dr. Bruce Birch
Rev. Dr. Birch retired as Dean of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Head & Heart Discussion
- God heard the cries of the Hebrew people even though they didn’t know God’s Name. Who may be crying out, yet not know God’s Name today? Describe the places where you feel at the “edge of the sea” with the army pressing in.
- As God is present with us in our suffering, are we to be present with others in their suffering? And if so, how?
- God who is present in our human story, delivers humanity from suffering in unexpected ways. How does God enlist us as God’s image-bearers in divine deliverance?
BEYOND THIS SESSION
Prayer and Pathway to Journaling
Often, when we become reflexively resistant to what we’ve experienced through study, it is pointing towards an area worthy of more reflection and prayer. In this part of study, we invite you to examine your areas of resistance or struggle. Allow God to reveal how transformation can occur in those areas.
Use these open-ended questions to facilitate your introspection:
- How does the discussion from this session apply to your life, your church, our denomination?
- Where is the Spirit revealing to you areas appropriate for growth and transformation?
- How does what we talked about transform your relationship with God and others?
- Identify a group of people or situation in your community that calls out to your heart. Who might go with you to build relationship and learn from the group of people impacted?
- Write a prayer to ask for God’s support and enlightenment to apply what you learned, and then pray it.
- Book Chapter: Chapter Four “Bondage, Exodus, Wilderness” from A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, Bruce Birch, Walter Brueggemann, Terence E. Fretheim and David L. Peterson
- Movie: Schindler’s List (1993)
- Paraphrased and excerpted from: Wesley’s Sermon on “The Wilderness State”