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 (Share the link via email or social media).
Start by asking:
- When Jesus called us the “salt of the earth”, what do you think he meant?
- What do you think sets us apart from other people in our world?
- What sets us apart from the rest of our community?
- In what ways should our presence as God’s people make a difference in the world around us – from our community to the nation in which we find ourselves?
Read Psalm 122, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Then ask questions like these:
- Why do you think the Psalmist would be so joyful to make this mandatory journey to worship in Jerusalem?
- Worship is not a requirement of the law for us, so why might someone in our times look forward to worship with such joy?
- How might we find new joy in worshiping God?
- What specific things are the pilgrims told to pray for in verses 6-8, and for whose sake do they pray?
- As God’s people, we are citizens of a more permanent kingdom, so why do we still pray and work toward the safety and prosperity of our nation (verse 9)?
- What might this remind us about our role as citizens of the kingdom in the broader world?
Continue by asking:
- Given that our churches are no longer places of earthly government how might we still seek justice and security there?
- Why should we seek – and work toward – the well-being of all people and places?
- In what ways do special seasons like this one (Advent) bring a different sense of joy and wonder to our regular times of worship?
- How might we try to experience that kind of joy, and pass it along to others?
- In what ways does our work toward peace and justice in our world prepare the way for the arrival of the Prince of Peace?
- If we were singing this psalm today, in what ways might Jerusalem represent our church community, nation, or the rest of God’s creation?
Close with prayer.
Writer: Jon Parks