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Bible Study Guide for Sunday August 30, 2020

August 27, 2020

● Exodus 3:1-15

● Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

● Romans 12:9-21

● Matthew 16:21-28

In this week’s reading from Exodus, God makes himself known to Moses. A major part of this is God sharing his name, but more importantly, God shares his nature with Moses. God tells Moses that he has heard the cries of the Israelites, he has witnessed the oppression of Pharaoh, and that he will work together with Moses to liberate the Israelites. God is by his nature a liberator. However, he’s also a God who collaborates with us. We’ll come back to this.

If we were to survey the parish and ask them to describe God with a single word, I imagine the word that would appear largest in the resulting word cloud would be “LOVE.” It would certainly be one of my own top picks! However, the readings this week are focused on a different aspect of God’s nature, namely his desire for liberation and goodness.

This aspect of God’s nature can be exciting and empowering. However, it can also be intimidating or even frightening. How often do we as individuals or as a society live up to what we see as God’s standards of behavior? It can be hard to bless someone who isn’t wearing a face mask in public, never mind Paul’s call to feed the hungry!

Jesus’s call for us to take up our cross and follow him in Matthew can be a stark challenge as well. In my own life, I was very intimidated by the prospect of becoming a mentor to an inmate as part of Trinity’s College Behind Bars ministry. However, that’s where I felt God was calling me. I managed my anxiety as best I could, joined up, and ultimately found that my mentee was mentoring me as much as I was mentoring him. God worked with us and through us to form a friendship between two people who otherwise have never met due to the barriers society had placed between us. My hope is that in a small way, my mentee and I are jointly participating in God’s mission of liberation.

God shows through Jesus that in addition to being a just God, God is a kind and loving God of self-sacrifice. We aren’t on our own. God will work with us and through us. Christ’s call to take up our cross is a call to collaborate with God in his mission of liberation through self-sacrificing love.

● Has there been a time when you felt like you were “collaborating” with God?

● Where do you see God’s liberating presence today?

● What are three characteristics of God’s character that particularly resonate with you?

Author: Ryan Newberry


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