Here’s the buzz from the small groups week 7:
Pastor Eric shared an illustration in last Sunday’s message on humanity. The hospital he was born at in Richmond has been replaced about 10 years ago by a beautiful new structure a couple of miles to the north, on a spacious and marvelous campus. The grounds are beautifully maintained, with ponds and fountains. The goal was to make a place of beauty that was a comfort to those coming for care. Works of local artists as well as artistic design mark the campus. I haven’t seen a hospital in Hamilton County more beautiful!
The old hospital was sold to a group that was going to repurpose the old structure, but failed to do so. It was sold again to some New York “developers”. But they quit paying taxes on the property, quit mowing and doing anything to maintain the structure. Local authorities have been unable to locate the “developers” and make them live up to their promises. Thieves have gotten into the building and stripped everything of any value. Fires have been set. Just about every window in the building has been busted. Gang graffitti covers many exterior walls. Recently 3 teenagers were prowling thru the building, when one fell through the floor to the floor below.
Genesis tells us humanity was created by God, “in the image of God”. Not too much later, humankind ate the forbidden fruit, and humanity marred the image of God with sin. Glimpses of God’s image can be seen yet today in places of beauty such as Richmond’s new hospital. Inspired scientists and physicians can at times bring about great advances in medicine and healing… or compose beautiful music, like Handel’s Messiah.
Yet the old hospital in Richmond reveals a fallen humanity, including corrupt business “developers”, not living up to promises, …vandals, and other representatives revealing humanity at its worst!
In whose image are we striving to live?
Here are the main points taken from last night’s discussion;
1. The first 2/3 of the chapter is a “downer”.
2. “I believe all people are loved by God; therefore, I too should love them”. This is a quote from the study guide which gave rise to much discussion.
o First examples were the BLM rioters and looters. How do/can one love them?
o Other examples of those hard to love were those with actions diametrically opposed to what our group believes to be “Christian”.
3. Randy Frazee helped feed the homeless for years (?) without ever engaging them as individuals until he served a church member who he did not realize was homeless.
4. To serve as part of the body of Christ, to serve God, we must engage others. We must share by word and actions the love of Jesus.
5. The importance of local missions was discussed as a way of engaging those less fortunate.
6. We discussed the personal difficulty of engaging a complete stranger, let alone a friend.
7. We are challenged on a daily, constant basis to “walk the talk” and follow Jesus.
Good class. Good discussions. Lots of prayer requests.
What hinders us from fully loving people the way God loves them? Our discussion this week revealed answers to this question such as fear, imperfections, false judgements, and simply not being able to relate to certain people. Because we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, we sometimes fail to embrace our differences. It can take a lot of prayer, and work to love as God does. But God requires that we make the effort. As Randy Frazee revealed in his story about the homeless man who was also a member of his church, learning to relate, understand and love some people sometimes becomes a journey, inspired by God.
Randy Frazee talked about the inspirational story of Patrick Henry Hughes. You’ll see why when you watch: