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 the Mind Session Page)
Start by asking:
- Imagine Jesus were here today and you had the chance to meet him. Jesus asks, “what do you want me to do for you?” How would you answer?
- What are three things that we should never bring to God in prayer and why?
Content (From the Media Session Page)
Read Mark 10:46-52 and watch the Bible Background Video for this session:
and ask questions like:
- What do you think it might have been like to be blind in the 1st century?
- Why do you think Mark places this narrative of Blind Bart in this place in his writings?
- In what ways is this blind man so different from disciples with full vision in terms of understanding Jesus?
- What attitude did the crowd and disciples show to Bartimaeus?
- What is the significance in the blind man calling Jesus “master”?
- What would the caring message of an outcast being healed by the Messiah mean to a hurting people in Jesus’ day?
- What could/should it mean for us in our pain and struggles?
Closure (from the Current Session page)
Tell the group:
“We might hold different views of the death penalty in general. It may be more helpful for conversation to look at just one story in particular. Kelly Gissendaner was sentenced to execution her involvement in the murder of her husband by another person. While on “death row” she grew in faith and completed a certificate of theology from Candler School of Theology. She ministered to many other inmates, many attesting to her transforming and even life-saving influence in their environment. Many, many groups, including clergy, wrote letters, made phone calls, held rallies in support of her. Pope Francis made a plea for her to receive mercy and not be executed. Kelly was executed on Sept. 29, 2015.
Share to the story of Kelly Gissendaner’s execution and ask questions like:
- In Kelly’s story, describe the ways you see people asking for mercy.
- Why do you think we sometimes resist, scoff, reject, or belittle the pleas for mercy that we hear from people?
- In what ways did faith make Kelly Gissendaner well, even on death row?
- What hope or challenge do you hear in the testimony of her last moments, when she sang Amazing Grace?
- If Kelly were another character in the gospel of Mark, who do you think she would be?
- When we tell her story, what can we say about the ways she encountered Jesus?
Pray together to end the session, using the words from Amazing Grace as a prayer:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.