Thank you, dear readers, for your interest in my newest book, On the Way With Jesus, which is a collection of sermons for Lent and Easter that also works well for personal and group study. Each sermon focuses on a gospel text with commentary and ends with a brief prayer. And now finally, the reflection and discussion guide is also available, just in time for the start of Lent next week!
You can sign up for a free copy of the guide here: On the Way with Jesus Reflection and Discussion Guide.
And if you don’t yet have your copy of On the Way With Jesus, it’s available for purchase from CSS Publishing, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, or from your favourite online or local bookstore. Here’s a sample from the reflection and discussion guide:
On the Way with Jesus: Forgiven
Read: Matthew 28:1-18
1. On the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to see the tomb where Jesus had been buried. What did they discover?
2. Compare and contrast what the angel says to the two women, and what Jesus later says to them. Notice Jesus’ tenderness in referring to his disciples as “brothers” (Matthew 28:10), even though they had fallen asleep when he asked them to stay awake with him on the night of his arrest, even though they had all deserted him (Matthew 26:36-56).
3. Reflect on this movement of receiving God’s forgiveness and extending forgiveness to others:
Whatever our past failures, whatever our present situation, in Jesus there is forgiveness from sin as he reaches out to call us sisters and brothers. There is freedom from the past. There is power to live a new life. And as we are forgiven, we in turn are called to forgive others. (page 66)
What barriers stand in our way of receiving forgiveness? What barriers stand in our way of extending forgiveness to others? Pray for God to remove these just as the angel removed the stone from the tomb.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior or allowing it to continue. Forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing or minimizing criminal or evil acts. But instead of holding the hurt inside where it can fester, forgiveness means we can channel our pain and anger into making things right. We can release those hard feelings, have compassion on ourselves, and begin to have compassion on others. Instead of looking for revenge we can reach toward justice and reconciliation. (page 67)
Understanding forgiveness in this way means that forgiveness is not a one-time act. Forgiveness is a process, a journey, a way of living into the freedom and new life that God has for us. How will you practice forgiveness this week?
5. If you gave up something for Lent or added a life-giving practice, what will you do now that Lent is over?
For more encouragement and resources on doing ministry better: