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 Media Session Page)
Play the Fake $20 tip video and ask:
- How many of you currently work as wait staff or have ever worked as wait staff?
- For those of you who have been waiters/waitresses, what is the largest tip you have ever received?
- If you were the young waiter, how would constantly seeing that person leaving a fake $20 tip make you feel about them?
- How do you think the waiter felt about that person’s religious values and holiness of God?
- In what ways do you think our views on holiness might affect the way others see God?
Content (From the Mind Session Page)
Read Psalm 99, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Ask questions like these:
- Using the definition from the video, how was God “holy” in the time of ancient Israel?
- In what ways was God different and set apart from other gods?
- Do you think this is how most people today understand this word?
- In what ways do we sometimes limit the meaning of “holiness” by the way we define it?
- In the first section of the psalm the nations are called to respond to God’s greatness. Is this simply a calling to be more religious?
- In the second section, the psalmist calls his own nation to respond to God’s greatness. What do you think the worship of God looked like in that nation, beyond just religious practices?
- Why is justice “holy” and how is it different from the things we’d normally expect in governmental and social activities?
- In the third section (vv. 6-9) we see more about what it means that God is holy.
- Many people in that time called out to their gods, but very few gods actually answered. Many gods punished people, but hardly any gave forgiveness. Some required child sacrifice, but Yahweh God forbade it. In what ways does this further define the idea of God’s “holiness” or “otherness” among the other gods?
Closure (from the Current Session page)
Continue by telling the group:
In the Bible background video, Nikki says, “In a world that prizes conformity, being different can be difficult. It is more challenging to subvert conventional wisdom, to go against the grain, to be still when others are so busy.”
Share the story of the Target employee who was celebrated for paying attention and slowing down.
Ask questions like these:
- The story goes, ”When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind.”
- Why do these actions stand out?
- If you had been standing in this line, how would you respond and why?
- How can, or should, we respond to people whose agendas do not allow for others to “take time to be holy?”
- We are called to be set apart, to let our actions be marked by grace, peace, forgiveness and kindness. It often seems like living “set apart” happens in small acts. Can you tell about a time when someone’s act of kindness happened specifically because of their commitment to be shaped by Christ?
- In what ways do small acts like this impact a community?
Pray to end the session, using the words from the hymn “Holy, Holy Holy”:
Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty…