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:
- What does it mean to have a “balanced” life?
- How do you feel about your abilities at finding and keeping this balance?
- What might you do to improve your ability to find balance, as you describe it?
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Then ask questions like these:
- At first reading, does today’s passage seem to you to be optimistic? Pessimistic? Neutral?
- The first eight verses are a poetic expression of the Teacher’s point. Why do you think the writer intentionally chose to use opposites (to be born and to die, etc.)?
· The activities mentioned are mostly simple… why use such simple images?
- In what ways does this use of everyday images reinforce the Teacher’s point?
- What in this list most surprises you and why?
- Rather than expression of things we should do, or a simple description of life, how does this list remind us that there’s balance in all of life?
- Why does the Teacher claim that God gives us work to do and what does this imply about the meaning of that work?
- In what way is even work a beautiful thing in its appropriate time?
- The Teacher claims God has intentionally kept God’s plans hidden from us. To what degree is this frustrating or patronizing, or freeing?
- Since we cannot know – or influence – the eternal designs of God, how should we live our lives?
Read today’s passage again in the style of lectio divina where you have someone read the passage aloud, while others listen for a phrase that the Spirit brings to the forefront. Do this three times, asking the group to consider one of these questions, respectively, and encouraging volunteers to share what they heard as the scripture was read with this question in mind:
- What part of this reading most stands out to you and why?
- Where is your life unbalanced?
- Where is God showing you something you can do in this New Year?
Close with prayer.
Writer: Jon Parks