We can offer our presence to people amid their complex problems, listen actively, and let go of anxiety that drives us to rid ourselves and others of pain. Our faith can help us. God offers us the truth about pain and suffering through Jesus: “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). In Jesus, we cannot have freedom from trouble, but we can have peace. When those around us are suffering, we can pray for peace, for wholeness, and for God’s comfort. We need not offer explanations or speak at length (or at all) about the value or joy in suffering. Our expressions of God’s love can be enough.
—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)
For more from Angela D. Schaffner, read 10 Tips for Leading a Small Group on Zoom.
Is it hard for you to listen to—without trying to solve—the problems of others? Join the conversation.
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!
—John 16:33 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
God, we praise you for gathering us together like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
- Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
- Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13
- Romans 7:15-25a
- Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.