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Scriptural Christianity - Reflections for Personal Devotion and Conversation with Others

(Sermon 4 in the Standard Sermons of John Wesley)
By: Lauren DeLano

1. Why do we come together for worship? How does worshipping in community help us to stay strong in our faith?

Wesley often emphasizes that the means of grace: scripture, prayer, worship, and others are not the end goal, but are resources to help us to seek after and experience the love of God. We cannot be steadfast in our faith lives if we don’t have resources and people keeping us accountable along the way. Why do we come together for worship? How does worshipping in community help us to stay strong in our faith? The nourishment and growth that happens in our lives is sustained when we receive communion or pray or hear the scripture read among other believers. What is it about worshipping in community that you find most meaningful or life giving?

2. How does love become powerful? Why might some perceive love as dangerous?

Christianity grew throughout the time of the early church because people were loving one another and that love of God spread from one person to another. As the love between people was passed from one person to another, people in the early church began to be persecuted by those in power: by both the government and the religious leaders who were offended and afraid that their power and privilege was being challenged. This radical, powerful love was perceived as dangerous. How does love become powerful? Why might some perceive love as dangerous?

3. How would you define the words ordinary and extraordinary?

How would you define the words ordinary and extraordinary? Often, we think of ordinary as being boring or unexciting and extraordinary as special and exciting. We hear stories of God communicating with people in extraordinary ways through burning bushes and dreams. And we think, that never happens to me. Or we hear of people being given extraordinary gifts like speaking in tongues or healing or interpreting dreams, and we think of ourselves as ordinary, unlikely to receive such exciting gifts. Yet, when we think of ordinary and extraordinary in this way, we have it all backwards! Extraordinary gifts are gifts only given to a few people. But, ordinary gifts are given to all people. We have all received the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). And while we may think of these as ordinary gifts, we know they are not easy to cultivate. Cultivating these gifts requires that we have a relationship with God and that we work at living out these “ordinary” fruits each day. For when patience or kindness or joy transform our lives and become a part of who we are, we know that is an extraordinary feat. After some reflection, have your definitions of ordinary and extraordinary changed?

Take some time this week to memorize Galatians 5:22-23 and reflect on the ordinary gifts of the Spirit that you have received as one who is loved by God.