These are the questions we'll be discussing on Sunday, July 18. Please feel free to respond to this post with your own discussion questions!
One correlation to the idea of a journey is the Apostle Paul’s conviction that followers of Christ should be in the world but not of the world. “Be not comformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Romans 12:2) How does that relate to what Lindvall writes about Christ as a stranger in town, or in our world, when our lives are so greatly shaped by modern culture?
More specifically, how do faith, religion and our faith community help us to hold onto what is good in the world and pass by what is not?
HOW does Christ become “the knowable stranger”? The idea that it happens by OUR study is somewhat contrary to Reformed thought.
Lindvall writes, “In the end, the most eloquent testimony to the Christian faith is the word of those who have taken the road before us and along the way found more than they first sought.” That sounds very linear; do we believe that the steps toward knowing God must be taken in a certain order? Can we learn also from people who seem, in some ways, to be behind us?
Lindvall speaks of two reasons for “rising and shining” — e.g., for beginning or resuming a Christian journey. The first is need, the second is potential enjoyment. The Westminster Catechism teaches us that “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Does Christianity sometimes focus too much on duty at the exclusion of acknowledging the joy we find in our relationship with God?
In what ways do you find joy?
On the other hand, is a life without responsibilities a good one? What does that tell us about the structures God has put in place to guide our daily lives?
What does it suggest about our reason for existing?
Lindvall writes, “If Jesus had been an Asian, I bet he would have said, ‘I am the rice of the world.’” When he said he was the bread of life, his listeners would have envisioned different bread than we do. How do we limit our ideas of Jesus and of God by letting the words of the Bible grow too familiar?
Lindvall writes, “Some longing led (people of faith( to look deeper and ask the underneath questions about life.” For what do we long? What are we seeking? From God? From other sources?
The basic question of this chapter, “Finding or Found?”, informs a great deal of Reformed theology, which holds that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by any action of our own. Are any of you comfortable sharing how God found you?
What was your response? How has it changed along the way?
Lindvall writes, “This road is not in search of a lost God but of a way into a God who has passionately sought us, somehow found us, and then coaxed us onto the way.” “A way into God” suggests that we seek understanding, which is certainly true. What else do we seek?
Having been sought, found and encouraged, what responsibility do you feel to live out your faith, and to understand what God is calling you to do? How do you discern that call?