Discovering God’s amazing grace
Embracing the future

Reading: Ruth 4:13-22

We all have things in the future that we fear, illness, financial down turns, relationship difficulties. So far we have used the Examen to reflect on what has happened, today we are going to use to all God to heal our future.

Invite someone to open in prayer.
Read Ruth 4:13-22.

As the story of Ruth closes, a new future has been painted. Bitterness has turned to hope, emptiness to fullness, from death there is new life. The hope for this generation is clear, "He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age". But the redeeming hope for every generation is also there as we look forward to David and ultimately Jesus.

Take time to contrast the end chapter one with the end chapter four.

What did they fear would take life (or be life draining) in their future?
What did they find that gave life (or, in the future, could give) them life as they faced this?

Explain that the two questions you have asked of the passage you are now going to ask of God and before God for yourselves. But this time it will be about our futures and what we fear. It might be helpful to remind people of the shorthand we are not using. "Take life", does not just mean how we will die but what in the future will drain the life from us.

Lead people slowly through the Examen. Use a combination of conversation and guided praying.
  • Stop and become aware of God’s presence. (See introduction or session one lead people to a quite place before God.)
  • Invite people to ask Jesus, "What do I fear will take life (or be life draining) in the future?"
  • Invite people to ask Jesus, "What gives life (or, in the future, could give) me life as I face this?"
  • Invite people to give thanks and hope the future before God. Either in the quietness of their hearts or out loud. Spend some time sharing the journey you have been on.

"When I know my needs and the resources available to me, the future looses it power to terrify me." Sleeping With Bread

Take a little time to reflect on what you have found helpful about the Examen and how you might use it as a group or individuals in the future.

Please remember that Sharon and team are available to listen to issues raised or to take things deeper where needed.

Ask someone to close in prayer.

Mark Searle, 12/07/2008