“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
We live in an age of hectic headlines. Flashed across our phones and televisions, we see news from around the world that rocks our peace: the escalating discord between nations, the physical and emotional exploitation enacted by people in power, the diminishing health of the earth. In these fraught times, it is understandable that we ask ourselves: Is there any hope for humans? What difference can I, one person, make? As we approach the celebration of Christ’s nativity and theophany, it is all the more important that we not let our love and grace grow weary.
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:13-10. Why do you think all of the knowledge and power in the world could amount to nothing if it is not done in love?
- What characteristics of love described in this passage do you not see present in the world today? What is the cause? What can you do to personally develop the kind of selfless love detailed here?
In a culture that currently seems to reward being argumentative and cruel, our kindness towards each other can truly be an act of rebellion. As inheritors of the Christian faith, we must remember that we have very active roles in the restoration and resurrection of the world. Every word we say, every action we take, and every choice we make holds the potential to reflect the insurmountable love of God. May we persevere despite our desperation; may we bring light into the darkness; may we actively fight for the peace we feel we are missing on this earth.
- Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-12. Name a couple of things that you “treasure.” What light are they bringing to your life?
- Describe a time when you have lost heart in humanity. How did that af ect your relationship with others? With God? What helped restore your heart?
- Set a few goals you could accomplish this Christmas season that would be life-giving to yourself, your family, and your community. List them out loud to your group members so you can help keep each other accountable.
In closing, reflect on the words of St. Gregory of Narek from his Book of Lamentations:
“The soul’s every movement is a reminder of God, the taking of a step, the extension of the right hand, the raising of the arm, with thanks for good works, with shame for bad, for familiar conversation and public addresses, in rational discourse, in works of success, in the fervor of virtue, day and night, we are guided by you in the useful movements for our spirit, asleep or awake, in mortal battles or combat with demons, in large and small struggles with heretics, while drinking or eating, in all that once stirred feelings, whether pleasant or unpleasant, with the pleasant we pray to remain, and from the unpleasing, through your miraculous intercession, we pray to be free.”