By Luke Johnson | November 7, 2017
Take some time to see how everyone is doing, and to pray for each other.
All Saints / All Souls
All Saints and All Souls were last week, and are special days in the year when we pause to give thanks for people who have helped us to know and follow Jesus. All Saints is a day to think about the “great cloud of witnesses” -- all God’s people in all times and places, especially the great heroes of faith who have taught us how to follow Jesus.
And the day after, All Souls, is a day to remember specific people from our own lives who have helped us to follow Jesus -- those who are part of our lives right now, and also those who have died.
Spend some time as a group hearing about each other’s “saints”:
Who are some of the people in your life who have helped you connect with God?
People whose lives you respect?
People who have helped you to think about Jesus and Christian life in new ways?
What about people from the past or people you don’t know -- artists, ancestors, writers, historical figures -- Whose words or example have impacted you?
Celebrate your saints with an activity:
#whatasaint icons: For millennia, the Church has celebrated its saints with the “writing” of icons. These are interpretive images that portray the saint’s character and contributions -- much more than a photo in a saint directory. Try it out for yourself!
What is memorable or important about your saint? Include these characteristics in your drawing. Icons are visual reminders of people who point us to God. Have fun with it!
(#whatasaint handouts and markers)
READ Augustine of Canterbury’s story
Have you heard of Augustine of Canterbury before?
(Not Augustine of Hippo -- that guy was a Berber from North Africa and lived 200 years before Augustine of Canterbury.)
What stands out to you from his story? Anything weird / surprising / encouraging?
What do you think of Augustine?
LAME // GUTSY // INSPIRING // FRAIDY CAT // WISE // GOOD LOOKING (for a bishop)
Optional nerd question: If Augustine had been a student at Hogwarts, to which House would he have been sorted? -- Gryffindor / Hufflepuff / Ravenclaw / Slytherin -- Why?
Have you ever had to go through a change in your life that you didn’t like?
(Or something you had to endure that wasn’t your choosing?) What happened?
Put yourself in Augustine’s shoes: What sorts of things would’ve gone through your mind if the Pope ordered you to an unknown land? (What would make you excited? afraid?)
What do you think of the choices Augustine made once he got to England?
Think about yourself for a moment: Are you generally a rule-follower or a rule-breaker?
(What are some of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ you experience because of this?)
Augustine disobeyed the Pope. He was supposed to be forceful and start preaching assertively right away. Why do you think Augustine chose to do things differently?
From Augustine’s actions in this story, what do you think is most important to him?
All fall we’ve been using Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 as a lens for Samuel’s story. As we read Hannah’s prayer now, try to imagine Augustine as the one who is praying these words.
READ 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Thinking about Augustine’s story, does anything in Hannah’s prayer pop out to you?
Augustine wasn’t in a panicked frenzy, labouring to get every last person to listen to him.
From Hannah’s prayer, why might Augustine show so much patience?
How does Augustine understand his place in the world? (vs. God’s place in the world?)
The world already has a saviour. Augustine kept his focus on the most important thing: Worshiping Jesus because Jesus is worthy of worship. Hannah’s prayer tells us clearly: The LORD is the master of creation -- we are not. He is in charge. He himself is at work. When God calls us, he calls us into his own work -- work that he has promised to complete (with Jesus’ resurrection as the guarantee!!!). Whether we succeed or fail, God uses our participation to pull the world closer to himself. He doesn’t depend on you; but he is filled with joy to work through you!