Bible Study 9th March 2021

BIBLE STUDY: LENT- SEVEN LAST WORDS (PART TWO)

BEHOLD YOUR SON! BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER’

  1. Have you ever ‘set anyone up’? Have you been set up or introduced by someone?

Read John 19:26-27

Good Friday shows a loss of community. The disciples have mostly turned and ran and those that cheered for Jesus are now jeering him. Yet, when humanity is at its most hateful and divided (those being killed and those doing the killing) a new community is being born at the foot of the cross. Before Pentecost you could argue that the Church is actually born here. Jesus absorbs our hostility and cruelty to one another in his loving self-sacrifice so that we all become his family by blood, his blood. Jesus knows what is like to be the ultimate outcast at Golgotha, so no-one is excluded from his family.

We don’t use familial terms for one another very often, although they do turn up in the funeral service, but I quite like them. To call each other family can be a healing, restorative thing.

Read Genesis 45:4

There’s a lovely story about Archbishop Helder Camara of Recife in Brazil who had a real heart for the poor. When he heard that someone had been unjustly arrested, he would turn up at the police station and say, “you have arrested my brother.” The officers would be very apologetic and release the man. When they questioned why the surname was different the Archbishop would explain that everyone was his brother and sister.

  1. What do think John and Mary brought to the relationship and thus the early Church?

3-Does the idea of family really stretch? Are we always going to treat our nearest relatives differently from other people?

4-How can we build a sense of family in our Church? How can we build a sense of family in the community?

MY GOD, MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’

4-When have you felt that God wasn’t there?

Read Mark 15:34 and Psalm 22

5- What similarities do you see between Psalm 22 and the events of Good Friday?

This is more than doubting the existence of God as an intellectual exercise, this is yearning for God but not finding Him. It is the suffering that appears pointless and meaningless. It’s when we cry out “Why? Where is God now?”. Some theologies of the cross have the idea that Jesus has taken on so much sin that God cannot look upon it and therefore His own Son. I prefer to think that Jesus is fully human as well as divine and that means he experiences our sense of being God-forsaken. Love takes him into the hardest place of all. People can bear many things if they think there is a purpose or meaning but to feel forsaken is truly terrible. Brian Kennan who was a hostage in Lebanon felt there was a void. He had been forgotten about by the world and God; ‘I am full with nothing. My prayers rebound on me as if all those words I sent up were poured back upon me like an avalanche tumbling around me.’ To those of us content in our faith these words and Jesus’ words are challenging, however, to the person who feels like this they are hope- somebody knows what this is like and somebody else’s faith survived it.

6- What would you say/do to someone who felt God-forsaken?

PRAYER

Lord sometimes wonderful things form in the hardest of places.

New relationships that have come out of adversity and are the stronger for it.

We thank you for family, friends and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Lord sometimes we need to be honest and say there is nothing wonderful.

We feel bereft even of You.

We try to survive the absence- there’s little else we can so.

Help us as Christian community keep the faith even when a brother or sister cannot hold it for themselves.

Help us hear their hard words without flinching and sit with them in the pain.

It helps that You know Jesus, You know.

Amen.

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