This week’s questions for Small Group Discussions and/or Journaling
1) The opening song in this liturgy, “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee,” is included to recall the final verse in this Sunday’s Scripture passage – Acts 8:8: “So there was much joy in that city.” The lyrics to this hymn describe joy by comparing our hearts to flowers: just as flowers “open to the sun above,” joyful Christians’ “hearts unfold” before God. According to the hymn, then, in order to experience joy, we need to have hearts that are open to to God. In what areas of your life do you desire more joy? How might your pursuit of that joy involve further opening your heart to God?
2) Our Scripture passage from Sunday describes Philip’s ministry of healing in Samaria – “For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.” (Acts 8:7) Our liturgy recalls this in the prayer of confession when we pray, “By your word, cast out our impure spirits and heal our paralysis.” How is sin like paralysis? In what ways have you experienced sin or brokenness in your life as “paralysis”? What experiences of “paralysis” are currently in your life that you mighthold in mind when you pray this prayer in worship next Sunday?
3) The charge and benediction in this liturgy says, “May you be scattered throughout our region and world to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God.” The words recall the opening verses of Acts 8: “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria… Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8:1&4). The early Christians could have seen themselves as victims; refugees forced out of the place they belong. Instead, they adopted a missionary identity, seeing themselves as “scattered” by God for the sake of preaching the gospel. As you think about your contexts, are you more likely to think of yourself as a refugee or a missionary?
4) In what other ways did you hear God speak or experience Him in worship?
5) Did you commit to an ‘experiment in mission’? If so, how is it going?