Pastoral Series, Rejection: May 30th
Text: Psalm 43 & Luke 7 v.36-50
read the two passages of scripture,
pause after each one and have a few moments
to pray and reflect
Have you ever experienced a time of rejection in your life?
If not what is it that you find hardest to understand about it?
If your group is quiet, offer some of these as ways that they might have been rejected? (there advice wasn’t taken, no one listens to them, being forgotten, not getting a job or that promotion, having our offer of help refused, someone died and left them, relationship breakdown?)
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:
- Who or what are some of the ways/people have helped you through times of rejection?
- In Luke, how does Mary deal with the rejection from Simon? What made her continue?
- Can our experience be turned into a positve/creative one? If so what character might be grown or what fruit harvested at such a time (Galatians 5 v.22-23) what do you sense this is for Mary in Luke and David in the Psalm?
- How can we survive rejection when it can happen often without warning (beravement or divorce) what can we learn from these two passages?
- It may lead people to be permently damaged and there may be a real sense of never being able to make sense of life or God again? What hope is offered in the passages?
- There is no quick fix, we may want to hurry someone through or rescue them, as part of one body in Christ, we need to respond to those around us with faithfulness, patience and a listening ear, are we able to do this or do our own agenda’s/hooks of the past take over?
- Lying behind it all may be the issue of does God reject? (Psalm 43 v. 2)
- David then later tells us to ‘Put your hope in God’ (v.5) How do you respond to this?
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 in all that’s been said?
How will it affect you as a Christian and how will you put what you have discovered into action?
Q. What action will you now?
Has it stirred up feelings and emotions within you?
Q. How are you feeling at this moment?
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 the other person is feeling, allow space, note how you as leader are feeling.
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 (see below) as a way of praying all together, especially if it has been a time of great personal sharing or do your own thing if you prefer.
Or you may like to?
Close by going into two’s and praying for each other, either for personal prayer about rejection (don’t focus only on this) or for someone you know or for people generally who suffer throughout their lives and are imprisoned by it. Also pray for those countries and nations who feel rejected, for aid agencies and for those who work in areas where what they stand for is rejected by those around them
Do though close in a way that will lead your group into understanding and peace
Woman of love
Anointing Jesus with costly perfume
Drying his feet with towel of your hair
Shocking the arrogant with your extravagant love
Kneeling in the face of such rejection
Lead us to pour out the fragrance of our lives
Lead us to see the beauty of what you did
Lead us to feel the acceptance Jesus offers
What will you waste upon Jesus?