Visioning and Prophesying

The biblical prophets called on the people of their time, and on us today, to “remember who you are,” to remember that you are a child of God. Prophets also remind us that God’s heart resides most profoundly with people in the margins of our culture. How are the voices of ancient prophets relevant to the Church today?

Pre-Session Assignment 

Small Group Session Agenda

Opening Prayer

Omniscient (All-Knowing) God: Thank You for intentionally gathering us together by Your Spirit. Thank You for being mindful of all of Your creation. You are the reason that we live, move and have our being; and, we are here because of Your mercy. You know all that concerns us. So, we pause before You now  to acknowledge Who You Are. (Pause, Selah). You are the God of justice and righteousness; and, You ever call us through the means of grace to live justly and righteously with one another. Embolden our witness and forgive our complicitness with, and/or silence regarding any form of injustice. With every breath, renew our strength, witness, and spirit to make a positive difference wherever You send us. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

WHO ARE WE AFFIRMATION

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.

Scripture

Isaiah 1:1-6; 21-26; Isaiah 40:1-11; Acts 2:14-21

Video Content

With Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle
Rev. Dr. McMickle recently retired as president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY.

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Head & Heart Discussion
  1. What is the role of prophets today?
    1. Rev. Dr. McMickle teaches that the role of the church is to hold up a mirror to who we are. As we look in the mirror, what are the places of distortion?
      1. What is the responsibility of the Christian community to the ever-expanding problem of poverty here and around the world?
      Closing Prayer

      BEYOND THE 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?
      • Imagine you were on the receiving end of the prophet’s words from the passages highlighted in Isaiah. What one or two things about your life or your church might you consider changing?
      • Write a prayer to ask for God’s support and enlightenment to apply what you learned, and then pray it.
      Additional Resources
      • Books:
        • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, David W. Blight
        • The Prophetic Imagination, Second Edition, Walter Brueggemann
      • Movie: Selma (2015)
      • John Wesley’s Writing: Sermon on the Mount, 12 

      “God has commanded his watchmen to cry aloud, and show the people the danger they are in. For this he has sent his servants, the Prophets, in their succeeding generations, to point out the narrow path, and exhort all men not to be conformed to this world. Every broad way is infallibly a false one. Therefore, this is one plain, sure rule, ‘They who teach men to walk in a broad way, a way that many walk in, are false prophets.’ Again: The true way to heaven is a narrow way. Therefore, this is another plain, sure rule, ‘They who do not teach men to walk in a narrow way, to be singular, are false prophets.’”