Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)
Context (from Media session guide)
View together the “Thin Places” video and ask:
- How do you feel about the concept of “thin places” as expressed in this video and why?
- What kinds of places tend to create this sense of “thinness” for you and why?
- In what ways do you think the presence or absence of other people can make a place be more “thin” for you?
- Where are your most special thin places?
- What kinds of things do you tend to do in response to being in a place that is “thin” for you? For someone else?
Content (from Current session guide)
Read 1 Kings 8:1-61, then watch the Bible Background Video:
Ask questions like these:
- Thinking about the buildings we saw and the buildings we worship in, how do you respond to thought in the story? No building can house God. But God comes near.
- In what ways do we sometimes act as though we can house God in a particular place?
- In what ways have you experienced the “tension between the greatness of God and the closeness of God”?
Share the story about the cathedral made out of trees and continue the conversation:
- What is your first impression when you look at these images and why?
- What might a dedication of this “building” include?
- This cathedral in nature is described as a “perfect example of architecture that, instead of competing with or complementing nature, is quite literally a part of it.” What do you think that means?
- Why would we usually rather compete with our contexts than complement them?
- Thinking about the “given” facts that Solomon names in verses 8:31-38. In what ways have you experienced God’s presence or activity in the “whens” that happen in your life?
- What do you think might make the kinds of prayers Solomon describes in this passage difficult to offer up to God?
Closure (from Mind session guide)
Continue by asking:
- In what ways do we honor – or dishonor – the places we’ve set aside to worship God?
- How is it possible to use these places improperly, even if we’re not doing something offensive?
- Who really defines what “proper” use is supposed to be and by what criteria and authority?
- What are some rituals the most shape your worship life and why?
- Given that rituals can mean different things to different people, how can we allow space in our rituals for God’s presence to speak to us?
- When have you encountered a time where the rituals and trappings of worship to became more important than an actual encounter with the living God – either in our individual and corporate times of worship?
- What kinds of things can we do, both inwardly and outwardly, to better ensure that this sort of thing does not happen?
Close with prayer, asking God to speak to us through both the expected and the unexpected times of worship.