05 Mar Discussion Guide Zoë Week 4
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today, we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the primary goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together?
This Week’s Topic
Today, we continue our series titled Zoë, in which we study Jesus’s incredible claim that he came to bring us abundant life, even in the midst of our spiking cultural anxiety and fragmentation. We will explore how the life Jesus lived is the best way to tap into that promise as we seek to establish specific rhythms and practices to cultivate a life marked by a gospel-centered abundance of strength, health, and vitality.
Note: At the end of this discussion, we have set apart time for you to practice taking communion together. Please prepare the elements and have them ready to pass out.
Do you generally find yourself more energized by being alone or with people?
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The Benefits of Solitude & Community
Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.
How does your life benefit from spending time with other people?
How does your life benefit from spending time alone?
Can you share about a time in your life when you had too much of one or the other?
The Challenges of Solitude & Community
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
I don’t know why life isn’t constructed to be seamless and safe, why we make such glaring mistakes, things fall so short of our expectations, and our hearts get broken and our kids do scary things and our parents get old and don’t always remember to put pants on before they go out for a stroll. I don’t know why it’s not more like it is in the movies, why things don’t come out neatly and lessons can’t be learned when you’re in the mood for learning them, why love and grace often come in such motley packaging.
Do you find it difficult to spend time alone? Why or why not?
What obstacles keep you from connecting with other people in community?
How can you make space for either time alone or time with other people, despite the inconsistencies and unpredictability of life?
The Practice of Communion
Henri Nouwen, Can You Drink the Cup?
Jesus, however, took upon himself all this suffering and lifted it up on the cross, not as a curse but as a blessing. Jesus made the cup of God’s wrath into a cup of blessings. That’s the mystery of the Eucharist. Jesus died for us so that we may live. He poured out his blood for us so that we may find new life. He gave himself away for us, so that we can live in community. He became for us food and drink so that we can be fed for everlasting life. That is what Jesus meant when he took the cup and said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).”
The practice of communion is a reminder that what the sacrifice of one life alone (Jesus’s) made it possible for us to be eternally united to God and one another.
As you pass out the elements of communion, take a moment to say one thing you’re grateful for about the relationships you share in your community group.
Before you take communion together, read these words from Luke 22:19-20:
And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.
Practice solitude this week by setting apart time alone to pray, sit in silence, or even take a daily, quiet walk through your neighborhood. During this time, practice pushing aside your thoughts and worries to consciously be with God.