Reflect & Respond: Week 1
Each Monday, we will post a variety of ways to reflect on Psalm 2 this week. Since God speaks to each of us in different ways, you, your family, or even your small group may wish to mix and match a number of the spiritual disciplines listed. No matter what “Advent-ure” you select, we hope that you will find an opportunity to connect more deeply with Jesus, the beloved anointed of God.
DAILY BIBLE READINGS
Read one of these passages each day this week, and reflect on these questions: How do these verses describe the anointed one of God? What do they say He is or does? What does it mean in your life that Jesus is the anointed one of God?
- Monday, December 2: Psalm 2
- Tuesday, December 3: Isaiah 61:1-11
- Wednesday, December 4: Luke 4:14-21
- Thursday, December 5: Acts 10:34-44
- Friday, December 6: Psalm 20
Read Psalm 2 and Acts 4:23-31. Why do you think the early believers would look to this Psalm as a source of hope when faced with opposition? What promises would they have trusted in?
GROUP RESPONSE: LECTIO DIVINA
Latin for “divine reading,” lectio divina is a devotional reading of scripture originally designed at a time period when literacy rates were low and access to written texts was limited. Communities of believers practiced lectio divina as an intentional method to allow all members of the community an opportunity to receive God’s Word.
This week, take 20 minutes with those in your community to practice lectio divina, using Luke 7:36-50, another passage in scripture that speaks to us about the beloved anointed of God.
- How to Begin: Set a timer for 20 minutes. Invite someone in your group to read the passage.
- Lectio (reading): Read the passage aloud, slowly. Listen for a word or phrase that stands out to you. Repeat the word to yourself silently and let it resonate with you. You may choose to read the passage once more during this step to provide more space for a word to resonate.
- Meditatio (meditation): Read the passage aloud again. Meditate on your word or phrase and ask God how it speaks to your life. Is there an image that comes to mind? A feeling or thought? Allow your imagination to be engaged in this prayerful exercise.
- Oratio (prayer): Pray what you desire to say to God and listen. Does the Spirit have an invitation for you today from this passage
- Contemplatio (contemplation): Allow your group a few moments of silence before God. Pray that the ways the Spirit met you during this time would transform you. Thank God for this encounter with the Beloved Anointed. Take a few moments at the end of the lectio divina to share about the experience with others in the group.
As Pastor Matt wrote in his devotional for this week, Psalm 2 is a prayer song “calling out to God and His
anointed to set things right with the nations raging around them.”We live in a world today in which the nations
are still raging around us, and the Psalms provide us with a model (lament) to pray our fears, grief, anger, and sorrow. Spend some time this week writing a prayer of lament, a passionate and personal expression of grief and sorrow. Follow the pattern below as you write your lament:
- Cry out to God (your address to God, we cry out to God in lament, not an empty complaint to no one)
- Complaint (express your anger, pain, heartache, or sadness)
- Affirmation of Trust (remember how God has been present and faithful in the past)
- Petition/Request (express your deepest desire to God)
- Additional Argument (is there anything else? any other reason why God should intervene?)
- Rage against Your Enemies (bring your enemies before God)
- Assurance of Being Heard (what do you need to feel heard?)
- Promise to Offer Praise to God (offer your own promise to God)
- Assurance (tell God which attribute of His you are most thankful for in the moment)
Messiah…King… Scripture is filled with names and titles that allow us to come into more reverent worship of Jesus. Search your Bible for some of the names and titles that are used in Scripture to refer to God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Spend time worshiping God with the title that most stands out to you today. If you are unsure where to start, consider the Advent Hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” which draws from Psalm 2.
Bake desserts for the International Student Christmas party on December 6. Pray for the students who will be eating these desserts. They come from various countries and religious backgrounds, but are united in their need to know the hope that Jesus offers. Send cookies to the Eastbrook office by 12 pm (noon) on Friday, December 6.
This week, practice the discipline of fasting. This could be for a day or just for a meal. When you feel the pangs of hunger, remember your need for God, and use that time to pray.
Throughout the season of Advent, you will be prompted to build the nativity scene. This is a great way for kids to experience the anticipation and expectation of the season of Advent in a tangible way. Each week, you will be prompted to add or move some of the biblical characters.
- Tuesday, December 3: Set up the stable, but leave it empty for now. Long before Jesus was born on earth, God was getting everything ready.
- Thursday, December 5: Place Mary, Joseph and an angel figure across the room from the stable. God sent an angel to tell Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be born to Mary.
- Friday, December 6: Place a donkey near Mary. She may have ridden a donkey to Bethlehem, because she was so close to having a baby. Donkeys were known to be animals of PEACE. Years later, Jesus Himself would ride a donkey into Jerusalem.
CREATE: CLAY POTS
Some of us are wired to learn better when we work with our hands. So this week, reflect on Psalm 2 as you make a clay pot. The verses use poetic language to talk about how Jesus, the beloved anointed Messiah, will exert His power and break His enemies into pieces, like a clay pot.
Choose to take this activity in one of two directions:
- The imagery of Jesus the Messiah and King, smashing His enemies like a clay pot is strong and powerful. Spend some time this week crafting a few small pots out of modeling clay (available online or at a craft store). Before they dry/harden, use a tool to scratch one word into each pot, representing something that Jesus hates and will destroy in His power. These could be words like “death,”“cancer,”“unforgiveness,” etc. Once the pots harden, take them to safe space and smash them, watching as they break into tiny pieces. Jesus is King, He will return, and He will put an end to the fallenness of this world!
- The imagery from Psalm 2 also brings to mind the idea that we find in other parts of Scripture, that God is the potter and we are His clay (Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18, Romans 9). Spend some time this week crafting a pot out of modeling clay (available online or at a craft store). As you do so, think about how God has created you uniquely and carefully. Think about what it means that Jesus is the “beloved” of God. Think also about what it means that God calls YOU His “beloved.” Display your pot somewhere to be reminded of the fact that you are Jesus‘ beloved.
Christmas Day: Worship Jesus
December 25, 2019
Reflect & Respond: Week 4
December 23, 2019
Advent Week 4: The Perfect King
December 22, 2019