Session 4 Leader’s Guide

Lent 2021 | First United Methodist Church of Rockwall

Serving God, Saving the Planet: A Call to Care for Creation and Your Soul

Session 4— “Home”

Opening Prayer (2 min)

Review of Session 3 (5 min)

Although God commands it of us, God’s gift to creation is Sabbath. The Jewish people numbered their days: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and Sabbath. A wonderful thing happens when we repeatedly come to rest with God. We are recentered on who we are and are spiritually recharged.

Scripture (Read in video): Luke 18:18-25

Video (11 min)

Chapter Review and Discussion (10 min):

Breakout Room Discussion (15 min):

  1. Matthew Sleeth names four moral considerations that call us to alter our diet (p. 124). If you don’t already practice these, have you considered adopting a moral rule of life for food consumption?
    1. Eat less than our “fair share” in a food shortage
    1. Avoid eating food obtained by unethical means
    1. Avoid food harmful to us
    1. Abstain from food that causes harm to others
  2. Sleeth goes into great detail of his experience on the tour of a “cage-free, organic” chicken farm. What was your reaction when you read about the treatment of chickens in this “cage-free” environment?
  3. In Luke’s Gospel story of the rich ruler, what are your thoughts on the words “do” and “inherit” connected together in the man’s question of Jesus? Have you inherited something that you had to earn?
  4. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “give us this day, our daily bread.” Who provides the necessities, our daily bread? Do we spend time acknowledging the source of all that we have?
  5. Pastor Sandy describes an addiction to possessing books rather than an addiction to reading. Is there a difference? Is there something you collect or possess that gives you that feeling of happiness when you get it?
  6. The author writes (p. 137), “As the demand for deck chairs, plywood underlayment, disposable chopsticks, and teak furniture grows, the trees in the third world are cut down. Poor families often do not own the land they have worked. They have no say and make no profit from the cutting of trees. Yet cutting down the forests around them changes their world. The topsoil washes away. The streams dry up. The trees God planted to hold the land in place are gone, so when a hurricane comes, the hillsides simply collapse and wash away.” This is a brief story connecting our purchasing decisions with environmental consequences. What are your reactions to reality that our favorite possessions can negatively impact other people?
  7. If Jesus stood in front of you and directed you to “sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor,” what possessions would be the most difficult to part with? What possessions do we cling to?
  8. “It is not our possessions or our homes that will keep us out of heaven, but our unwillingness to set them aside in service of the Lord.” How does this statement speak to you?
  9. The author describes the lifestyle changes his family made in response to their conviction to take better care of our home (i.e. downsizing their home, no paper products, recycling, pre-cycling). What emotions are evoked in you when you imagine yourself making such a choice? Why do you feel that way?
  10. The author writes (p. 145), “Each time we divest ourselves of possessions, we have fewer earthly things that bind us.” What behaviors and changes are you inspired to make after reflecting on Luke’s Gospel lesson and Sleeth’s chapter on possessions?

Closing Thought, Prayer Requests, Closing Prayer (5 min): “A wonderful life isn’t about having more; it’s about appreciating what we have and sharing our abundance (p. 155).”

Closing Prayer: Creator God, we give you thanks for the ways you provide for our well-being through the world you created. Help us to recognize that we were never intended to cling to those possessions. Open our eyes to the things that distract us from following you more faithfully. Enlighten us to the ways you call us to share in our abundance as we do our part to care for our world. May your great love for creation be seen through us in the things we eat, purchase, and consume. Amen.