Grace pervades everything. As United Methodists, we share the conviction that grace “is the unmerited and love action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit.” We celebrate prevenient grace, which precedes salvation; justifying grace, which illuminates God’s accepting and forgiving love; and sanctifying grace, which nurtures our growth in the love of God and our neighbor.
- Scripture: Romans 8:31-39
We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. (Breathe Deeply).
Marvelous, Infinite and Matchless God: we thank You for the gift of Your presence and for Your amazing grace. Without condition or qualification, Your unmerited favor has called us here and makes it possible to be in a right relationship with You. Your grace precedes our existence, justifies our unworthiness, and sanctifies and perfects our humanity. Thank You. Thank You for this precious gift. Center us now in the power of this moment. Experience our hearts, minds and wills bowing before You as we study, learn and grow together. Let Your will be done, even now. In the Name of the Most Merciful One, we pray and ask it all. Amen.
In the gift of this moment, we affirm that we are divinely loved and lovable.
We are the children of God.
Together, we will learn from the actions and words of one another.
Christ’s lessons on love are centered in how we treat others and in how we treat ourselves.
We will exercise courage in this study as we share stories of struggle and strength.
We will stay at the table and receive those stories with grace.
We will not be afraid to launch into the deep.
We will commit to the vulnerability necessary to allow God to break us open.
We will set and respect boundaries and honor confidentiality together.
When uncertainty arises, we will remember the Spirit of “peace that passes our own understanding” and can intercede for us.
We will remember that even when we don’t feel “United,”
The uniting love of Christ can reveal a pathway to greater
wisdom and mutual respect.
No matter what, there is a place for each one of us in this study together.
Let us hold each other up in prayer, hold each other accountable in love, and
trust that our God is making all things new.
Thank you for the gift of being present to one another in this holy time.
VIDEO CONTENT - Video will be available on 5/30
Video with the Rev. Claire Matheny.
Rev. Matheny is pastor of Kittamaqundi Community Church in Columbia, Md.
HEAD & HEART DISCUSSION
PRAYER AND PATHWAY TO JOURNALING
Often, when we become reflexively resistant to what we’ve experienced through study, it is pointing towards an area worthy of more reflection and prayer. In this part of study, we invite you to examine your areas of resistance or struggle. Allow God to reveal how transformation can occur in those areas.
Use these open-ended questions to facilitate your journey from head to heart:
Grace is God's "bounty, or favor: God’s free, undeserved favor, ... humanity having no claim to the least of God’s mercies. It was free grace that ‘formed humans of the dust of the ground, and breathed into them a living soul,' and stamped on that soul the image of God, and ‘put all things under God’s feet.' ... For there is nothing we are, or have, or do, which can deserve the least thing at God's hand."