Texts for the Week: Mark 5:22-24; 35-43; 1 Peter 5:6, 7; Gen. 37:17-28; Luke 16:13; Rom. 6:16; I Cor. 15:26
Memory Text: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8, NKJV).
Opening Question: What are we do to when we experience loss?
One of the sad realities about life on this planet is that we experience, over and again, losses. In fact, the presence of loss is so endemic to human experience that some who are a bit cynical are wont to say life is an exercise in navigating losses. They point out that a little child has lots of options but, by the time old age comes, those options are pretty much all used up. In other words, we have lost everything along the way.
The story of loss beings with the sin of Adam and Eve. They lost their innocence, their untarnished relationship, their Eden home, the chance to talk face-to-face with God, then their son, and the list goes on. Our experiences mirror theirs to a large extent.
In the lesson, we are invited to contemplate a number of types of losses. First, the loss of health. While we certainly can affect the health we have and enjoy, we cannot ultimately prevent the decline of health that finally leads to death. The loss of health can be particularly hard to endure when it brings pain.
- Talk about what we might do to enhance health, but also talk about what we might do to sustain ourselves when health goes away.
- What can we do to be of help to those who suffer from bad or declining health?
Another type of loss is the loss of trust. This can come in many ways but is particularly difficult to endure when the trust invested in a friend is broken. A particular category worthy of mention here are those occasions where trust is lost due to violence of some kind. It seems very important to make the point that violence perpetrated on someone is not their fault at all. Doing violence is a decision the perpetrator makes and for which they should be held accountable.
- Can you think of some biblical examples where trust, particularly between friends or spouses, was lost?
- What course of action can be undertaken when trust has been lost? What can be done to restore it?
- What happens when people try to rush the restoring of broken relationships?
- How would you help someone who has suffered violence?
There is also the matter of the loss of freedom that comes with the creation of addictions. Here, there is a lot of room for thought and discussion, about avoiding the creation of addictions as well as ways to get out from under them:
- What might a person do to avoid the developing of binding habits that are bad?
- How would you help a friend who has an addiction?
- What might a church community do for those addicted?
A final category of loss that might be discussed is the loss of life. Usually we experience this as the loss of the life of a friend or relative. At some point, we then face the reality of the loss of our own lives.
- Have you lost a loved one? Does that give you any clues into how you might be of help to someone who has lost a loved one?
- Have you thought about the day of your own passing? What might you do to prepare yourself for that day?
- What might be done to help your loves ones prepare for the day you die?