Sermon: Novemeber 22nd 2008
Text: 1 Kings 19 v. 1-18
by Chris Williams
Have you ever experienced a time of depression in your life?
If not what is it that you find hardest to understand about it?
Allow people to explore this, hold the silence and be sensitive to what people share, there is no judgement on what they say, thank them for sharing
Some questions that you might like to use in conjunction with the text are:
- How can we survive depression when it takes us up and down and descends often without warning (Psalms)
- It may lead to a very dark time (St. John of The Cross) where God may seem distant, once through it can be a transforming experience (many may be prone to a lifetime of this roller-coaster)
- Depression is often a sign in life that we need to pay attention to our circumstances ( Elijah in a crises, God made him sleep & eat before he spoke to him)
- There is no quick fix, we may what to hurry someone through but we are part of one body in Christ and we need to respond to those around us with faithfulness, patience and a listening ear
- Where does the depression come from (loss, exhaustion, abuse, genetic?)
- When depressed it is often hard to make sense of reality and persceptions are changed, there may be a need to have structure and easily obtainable goals
- Who or what are some of the ways/people have got you through times of suffering?
- Can our experience be turned into a positve/creative time? If so what character might be the fruit of such a time
It would be helpful to ask people in the group where they have felt most challenged?
Q. What was the most important thing for them?
How will effect you as a Christian and how will you put what you have discovered into action?
Q. What action will you now take?
Has it stirred up feelings and emotions within you?
Q. How are you feeling?
Be sensitive to what people share at this point, encourage people in the group to listen and to not give advice, jump in with their own story or say that they know how they feel, allow space
End the time with prayer: Maybe light a candle, play some quiet music, look at an empty box, broken glass, uplifting picture? Whatever you feel works for your group. You might like to use this meditation as a way of praying all together, especially if it has been a time of great personal sharing or do your own thing. If not close in a way that will lead your group into understanding and peace
Reflection: Poor in Spirit (read this slowly, pausing, allowing silence)
What is this tiny whisper in me? It weaves a voice of hope through the poverty within me. Sifting, sorting, searching, finding many things
to call forth it’s cry: Thank you!
This tiny whisper in me is the silent breath of faith, stirred by God, intimately near. A God who has eyes like mine, who can see into the darkest places of pain, anguish, question, doubt;
Who can still recognize in all of this, growth and goodness in me
Lord of all, stirring in my heart, see in this heart that is so poor,
the words of thanks formed in faith; Thank you for all life events
that I have fought and struggled with
Thank you for all those surrenders that seared and pained and burned;
thank you for the restlessness that loomed up large against my soul
Thank you for all that appeared in my life, for without those parts
I would not be so poor in spirit, not nearly so ready to turn to you, to receive from you and be touched by you
Pour your peace and love into this tiny whisper that is within me and help me roar with love for you
Close by going into two’s and praying each other, either for personal prayer about depression or for someone they know or for people generally who suffer throughout their lives