Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session.
- Read through all of Psalm 147
Begin by ensuring that everyone is in a comfortable position, then tell the group that you are going to be silent for three minutes (you can choose a longer or shorter time if you choose). During those three minutes, they should be still and try to notice what is going on around them. Encourage them to pay attention to the sounds, sights, feelings, and other things that may be going on in their environment, but not to talk It might be helpful to have someone set a timer on their watch or phone to let everyone know when the time is finished. When time is up, ask questions like:
- What things did you notice – what did you notice around you, and what did you notice inside you?
- What, if anything, most surprised you?
- What made you the most or least comfortable about participating in this activity and why?
- Why do you think it’s important for us to experience stillness from time to time?
- Think back on the things you noticed – how can you see evidence that God is present today?
Read Psalm 147:12-20, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Ask questions like these:
- Some of the psalms celebrate specific things God has done in the past, or anticipate things that God will do in the future. Where do you think this psalm focuses?
- What specific things does the psalmist see God doing?
- In what ways is God active?
- In what ways do humans respond, or in what ways does the psalmist call us to respond?
- In the psalmist’s view, God didn’t just set nature in motion and let it run – God is active in sustaining and renewing creation all the time. In what ways have you experienced this?
- In what ways are we, as 21st-century Christ followers, a part of God’s ongoing activity?
Remind the group of the seasonal focus by saying something like:
“We’ve just come out of a season – Advent – in which we were looking back at what God has done (the first coming of Christ) and are looking forward to what God will do (the final coming of Christ and God setting things right). We’re now just days away from the day that millions of Christians celebrate as the revealing (or Epiphany) of Jesus’ presence with us.”
Ask questions like these:
- Why might it be important at this time to be reminded that God is actively working around us?
- In what ways have you noticed God working in your life or in the world around you lately?
- What helps us recognize when God is at work?
- If God is constantly working around us in the world, what things might we do to support and be a part of that work?
- How might our actions hinder that work, and what can we do to prevent that?
- In what ways might we incorporate more times of “noticing” in our lives, and how might we benefit from such an intentional practice?
Close with prayer, asking God to help you notice the things God is doing all around you today, and the courage to join in and be a part.
Writer: Jon Parks