Text: Genesis 45:1-15
“. . . do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
Joseph affirms that what had been a treacherous plan on the part of the brothers unfolded in time as a necessary step to put Joseph in Egypt where he could preserve the people and his family in a time of famine. What do you know of events in your life which seemed tragic or impossible at the time, but which opened new possibilities? When have you done something harsh to another person that later proved to be a significant turning point for them? Do you think it was “all in the plan”? Or did God, or life, or circumstance make something new out of something broken?
– Andy Kille
Text: Matthew 14:22-33
What do recall of a time in your life when you stepped from a boat or firm land – from safety and security – into the waters of uncertainty and risk? Whose voice called you? How might the call have come from a deep place within you? Once on the water what was the strong wind you noticed and the fear that preceded the sinking? How were you sinking? To whom did you call? Who or what kept you from drowning? Continue reading
Text: Matthew 14:13-21
The text tells us that when Jesus saw the crowd, he had compassion for them. Write down your definition of the word “compassion” and the first synonyms that come to mind when you think of Jesus having compassion. Now take a look at the word “compassion” in online dictionaries that list multiple sources. Dictionary.com or thefreedictionary.com are two of those sites. Also click on the thesaurus links. What definitions and synonyms for compassion feel familiar? Which surprise you? Which seem to apply to the use of the word in Matthew’s gospel?
On November 12, 2009, The Charter for Compassion was unveiled to the world. It is the result of religious scholar Karen Armstrong’s 2008 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Prize wish. Visit the Charter’s website, www.charterforcompassion.org. Read the charter and listen to her short, compelling acceptance speech of the award. Wonder what it might add to your understanding of the compassion that Jesus had for them.
– Caren Goldman