House Group Questions on Duncan’s sermon on Amos

Martin Luther King

(There’s a transcript of Duncan’s sermon on the church web site.)

Duncan commented that Amos was able to speak perceptively about the situation in Israel because he was an ‘outsider.’  Why might an ‘outsider’ have greater clarity? Do some ‘outsiders’ speak not through words, but simply through being who they are?

You may wish to discuss any ‘outsiders’ who have spoken into your life in any context drawing attention to things you hadn’t yourself noticed.

How can we discern whether the issues the ‘outsider’ is drawing attention to are in fact genuine?

Is there a situation in which anyone in the group is an ‘outsider’? What challenges do they face in that role?

Amos, given clarity by God, denounces the way Israel is living as a society. Now the people of Israel were God’s people in a special sense. Can we apply Amos’ words to Israel to our own nation, or just to the church?

Would anyone in the group like to speak about situations in their own lives where there has been a mismatch between their ‘religious’ lives and the way they lived every day? What brought this mismatch to their attention? What difference did being aware of the mismatch make?

In what ways in a church today might the things said at worship services and the actual experience of life in that church community be out of sync?

Duncan spoke about there being situations in the coming week where each of us have a unique opportunity to make a difference, bringing light and grace into real-life situations. Would anyone like to share about opportunities they have had to act in this way, and how they responded.

It’s one thing being agents of peace and justice in our own immediate environment. Is there anything we can do about the ‘structural’ injustices in society of which Duncan spoke?

Has anyone any experiences of a project which has brought justice and joy to a community in much the same way as the chocolate shop did in the film Chocolat, which Duncan referred to?

How would you respond to someone who is feeling powerless to make a difference because of the scale of injustice in society?

Would some folk like to share what the words of Jesus ‘Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them’ mean in their own experience. Will we always be aware of it when these words are fulfilled in our lives? Is this awareness a mental thing, or a thing experienced, or both?

What are the identifying marks in someone’s life which indicate that the living water is ‘flowing from within them.’

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