The spiritual journey is filled with paradoxes. Here is one: the weight of the cross is freedom and life while the independence to accumulate worldly attachments can be a heavy burden and loss. This passage tells us to calculate the cost of both choices. Following Jesus—being faithful to God’s love—will have a cost, but one that brings a fullness of life.
Beginning of the meeting Invite the community to gather. Light a candle. Ask people to quiet, relax, attend to their breathing and take a posture of prayer as they listen to the scripture passage. (Give a few moments of silence to allow people to shift gears and be open to God’s Spirit.)
LUKE 14:25-3325 Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (NRSV)
- Is being part of a church community the same thing as being a follower of Jesus? How is it the same, how is it different?
- What is the cost of being part of a church community? What is the cost of being a follower of Jesus?
- What are the things, both personally and in our church, that get in the way, hold us back, weigh us down and keep us from being truly free in Christ?
Meditation Once you have spent some time discussing the questions, call the committee to silence and a quiet posture of prayer. Read the passage once again. This time ask the gathered to listen for how this passage applies to their work and ministry associated with this meeting. What does God have to say to you and your church right now?
End of the meeting Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Word has been known in your time together.