Wow! I totally procrastinated on reporting how the Sunday night group went this week. I got a new computer which required much work, so it's Thursday already and I'm finally getting around to this. Anyway, you can find the narrative and discussion questions here.
We had a really great discussion this week. Some of our attenders were really disturbed by this story because Jesus seems to be expecting more from the rich young man than simple belief in who he is. So we had the chance to talk for a while about what it means to actually believe--that there's an element of mental assent to certain ideas, but there's also a requirement of actually following. I got to whip out the old chair illustration from my childhood - you know - the one about how you don't really know if you believe a chair will hold you until you sit in it. I'm not sure how helpful that was though.
We're still struggling through what life with the Eternal One looks like. The stories we've talked through up to this point have been all about the actual encounter with Jesus and who Jesus claimed to be. Jesus often mentions eternal life, but doesn't often describe what it is. I think this coming week we're going to talk about Zaccheus and how his encounter with Jesus transformed his life. I'm looking forward to some plain old relational time with the group in a couple of weeks where I also hope to tell part of my own story and how my encounters with Jesus have shaped my own life.
The one thing that I would say about this narrative is that I almost think it should come between the blind man and Lazarus. Apparently this is where scholars feel that the story fits anyway, and I think that it actually probably makes more sense there. If I was just going to offer 5 narratives for a 5 week series, that's probably how I'd rearrange them. But it turns out that we've actually formed somewhat of a community in those 5 weeks, and our people want to continue meeting. So we're off on new adventures. The focus now will be on the development of materials and stories that will create the possibility of true discipleship. It'll be exciting to see how that turns out!