Have you ever had something good come from something bad? Share.
This good-from-bad phenomenon is why Christians often refer to the day Jesus died as “Good Friday.” Christ’s death was both terrible and wonderful.
Was the artwork we viewed during the sermon uncomfortable for you to look at?
-If so, why?
-Even if it made you uncomfortable, what value might there have been in meditating on it?
Art is an excellent way to meditate on the crucifixion--but depictions of Jesus’ sacrifice don’t have to be literal. Take, for instance, the pieces we’ve displayed at the back of the auditorium--each one a reflection on a different moment leading to Jesus’ death. Consider having the group reflect on one or several of those pieces, viewing them and exploring their meaning together.
-(You can view them about halfway down this page. You might show them on a laptop to your group or view them via an Apple TV or similar device.)
Brian Zahnd: “There is nothing particularly unique about a religion that worships a resurrected god — the ancient world was awash with such religions. But Christianity is the only religion to have as its central focus the suffering and degradation of its God!”
-What does this uniqueness reveal to you about the essence of being a Christian?
We said Sunday that God is to be found in many places, even and perhaps most especially in painful and tragic things--exactly where we do not want to look for God.
-Have you experienced this? Share a time when you found God in an unlikely place.
Read Matthew 27:27-54
-Imagine the scene as you read the text together--enter the story as a bystander or as a character within the story. Look around: see the sights and listen to the sounds. Fill out the details of the scene with your imagination. Share any thoughts.
-What stands out to you as important?
-Does this scene stir any emotion in you? What/how?
Pray this prayer of confession together as a group. You might print out copies so that one person begins each couplet and everyone else in the group completes it by praying the second line out loud together.
You give us the power to choose,
And our need for power clouds our judgment.
We praise you,
And our praise for you quickly turns to anger.
You call us to obey,
And your call for obedience threatens our control.
You show us that we’re oppressors
And we claim piety in the midst of our injustice.
You offer to make us righteous,
And we attempt to be righteous on our own.
You invite us into the challenge of relationship,
And we choose the ease of religion.
You stand on trial, mocked,
And our loyalty lies with the surrounding crowd.
You seek to glorify God,
And we seek to glorify ourselves.
We are wounded
And you are whole,
And so you are wounded
That we can be healed.
Through Christ, our crucified Savior, we pray, Amen.
You might also consider having each person pray (silently is fine) thanking Christ for something his wounds have healed (or are healing) you of.