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 Current Session Page)
Invite everyone to guess the Oxford Dictionary “Word of the Year” for 2015, reminding them that this would be a word that has come into heavy use over the year, rather than an all-time choice or preference on the part of the dictionary. After everyone has had a chance to make a guess, share the story of the word of the year.
- When have you seen this emoji before?
- In what situations might you send someone the “face with tears of joy” emoji?
- What is going on this year that would make you most want to be able to express what this emoji conveys, but cannot and why?
- In what ways does the prospect of complete joy affect your worldview?
Content (From the Mind Session Page)
Read Zephaniah 3:14-20 and watch the Bible background video.
Remind the group that this passage is a hopeful, joyful text, but what comes before it is anything but pleasant. To get a taste of what comes before, have someone read aloud Zephaniah 1:1-6 and 1:14-16, making note of the things Zephaniah describes. Continue by asking:
- What kinds of things is Zephaniah warning about?
- Zephaniah’s hearers felt safe – they were God’s people, so the Day of the Lord would be a good thing for them! How do you think they reacted when Zephaniah included Judah and Jerusalem in 1:4?
- After all this description of terrible things, read today’s passage again. How does 3:14-20 sound to you in light of what is warned before?
- What is God promising to do for the people?
- Note when this joy is promised: after the difficult times. What does this tell us about the nature of joy?
- In what way is this different from momentary happiness?
Closure (from the Media Session page)
Play the Call Within a Call video clip and continue by asking questions like:
- Why do you think it was hard for Mother Theresa to ask permission from her religious order to follow God’s will?
- In what ways do you think that the accepted practice of her faith may have been missing the point of her faith??
- In what ways do you think your religious traditions and practices hinder you from honoring God and God’s people?
- What does the concept of “Joy” really mean when people are oppressed and it seems so hard to help them?
- How might we help other people transform their experiences through joy?
Close in prayer asking for strength to handle difficult situations as we honor God and display joy in God’s name.