People of Hope II (1 Peter 2:11-17)

Sermon Discussion

This weekend we explored how the gospel reorients our hopes and desires, transforms our culture and sets us free to love and serve our world. Click here to download the pdf.

  • Have you ever tried to abstain from something you crave for a significant amount of time? (fasting from food, coffee, alcohol, social media, etc.). How was that experience? What helped you succeed or what caused you to fail?

“True spiritual formation flows from the belief that we are born with souls in perfect form. As time goes on, we are subject to powers of deformation, from within as well as without, that twist us into shapes alien to the shape of the soul. But the soul never loses its original form and never stops calling us back to our birthright integrity.” - Richard Rohr

  • Read 1 Peter 2:11. How does desire wage war against our soul? What happens to the soul as a result?
     
  • What if Jesus didn’t come just to solve our sin problem, but to reunite us with our birthright integrity and to reveal the very heart and image of God buried within us?

According to Bernard of Clairvaux (AD 1090-1153) the highest degree of love is simply that we love ourselves the way God loves us; in the same degree, in the same manner, and with the very same love. Discipleship, then, is learning to love our true self, the essential image and likeness of God within us. To call our inner child out of hiding and into His wonderful light.

  • What conditions might be necessary for the soul to feel safe enough to come out of hiding?
     
  • What do you think Peter means when he refers to Christians as “aliens and exiles”? 
     
  • Discuss some of the characteristic desires of the American culture. In what ways do these align with the desires of God’s kingdom? In what ways are they out of alignment?

"The church exists to set up in the world a new sign which is radically dissimilar to the world's own manner and yet which contradicts it in a way that is full of promise.” - Karl Barth

  • How can we as church live in the tension of exilic living here in Des Moines?

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.