For six weeks, we’ll be exploring postures of discipleship. Postures arrange our bodies to respond to various circumstances and allow us to engage with purpose. Over time, the practice of a posture reshapes our muscles and even bones such that the posture becomes a natural part of who we are. Today we are talking about the posture of being rooted in our neighborhoods.
In today’s globalized world, we can sometimes feel as close to Beijing as we do to Boston. We have the ability to chat with friends who are thousands of miles away and we can check the weather in Antarctica. That’s amazing, but sometimes it can mean we live our lives as if the spaces we physically inhabit don’t matter all that much. In a world of digital connection and shrinking sense of place, does caring about those around us even matter? What does it mean to be rooted to your surroundings today? What might it look like to not view your neighborhood as just a place you ended up, but as the place God has called you?
What kind of neighborhood did you grow up in as a kid? How do you think that shaped you?
Jeremiah 29:1-14; John 1:1-14
- How long have you lived in this area? What brought you here? Why are you still here?
Read JEREMIAH 29:1-14.
- The message this week talked about the exile in Babylon, what do you remember about the historical context of this passage and the people of Israel? What is happening to them? Conversation Helper: It may help to go back a chapter and read Jeremiah 28.
- How are the people of Israel responding to their displacement? What was their relationship with Babylon like?
- In your own words, what is God, through Jeremiah, telling Israel to do in this passage? Do you think this was an easy or hard thing to hear?
- Why is God calling them to be rooted in their city? Conversation Helper: It may help to keep reading up to Jeremiah 19:23. Why isn’t it time for Israel to move on? Why does God want them to pray for the prosperity of a city which exiled them?
- We live in an age where people move much more frequently. While they aren’t carried away in exile, many people have a tendency to live their lives focusing on the temporariness of a given stage and planning for the future. Why is this? Is this good or bad?
- How do you interact with your city? Do you feel like you are rooted in it? Why/why not?
- What might God be saying to you about rooting yourself in this city? What would it look like to respond to God’s word to Jeremiah in your life?
Diving Deeper: The INCARNATION
Read JOHN 1:1-14 in the message translation.
- This passage of Scripture is famous and you’ve probably encountered it in various translations. It is notoriously hard to translate, so translators have to be creative to express what the text is getting at. What do you like about the way the message translated this passage?
- Why does the incarnation of Christ into a single human person in a single human community matter? What does that mean for the relationship of God to physical and relational space?
- How does the Church relate to Christ’s incarnation? What does it mean/look like to be a incarnated community?
- Think about your community. What would it look like to personally live a life inspired by the incarnation of Christ? How would you embody Christ’s presence?
- Jesus was personally known in his neighborhood (e.g. Matthew 13:54-58), are you known in yours? If you feel like you are, share with the group the story of how this came to be? If you feel like you aren’t, why is that?
- We don’t know our neighbors anymore. Here’s what that costs us. by Meaghan McDonough, Boston Globe
- Seeking the Peace and Prosperity of the City: The Politics of Jeremiah 29:1,4-7 by Monica Melanchthon, Political Theology
- Rethinking Mission: Incarnational Presence by Brad Brisco, NAMB