Bible passage: Matthew 6 v 25-34; Matthew 10 v 28-31
Our attachment to people and places
The theme to be explored in this study is the way our need for attachment to significant people and places seems to be connected with our need for self-worth; how death calls up terror in us because it seems to threaten both of these fundamental needs; and how the Bible deals with this head-on.
Before reading the Bible passage(s) your group may find it helpful to look at this painting by Stanley Spencer, called Consider the Lilies, which dates from 1939.
Notes on the painting
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
[30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you– you of little faith?
31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.]
28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Here are four passages in addition to the main one above. You could have a one-off study on a single passage, a series using all five passages, or break up a larger group into small subgroups to look at one passage each and then come back to share common themes. Click on the texts to find the suggested questions.
• This is a wonderful vision of both the diversity and solidarity of God’s creatures worshipping him for ever in the heavenly places. Do you feel you want to be part of it? Have you ever glimpsed anything like this?
• The creatures sing a new song of worship (v9). It’s new because it is not to the Lion who conquers (v5) but to the Lamb who was slain. Why is this so important?
• The move from Lion to Lamb takes St John by surprise, turning his expectations upside-down. Do you find God to be a God of surprises?
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