04.14.2019 | “Jesus Wept | Week 6: Racism”
Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.
Share a story about a time when you really had to learn something new (skill, job, complex information, etc). What was it & how did it feel to do it early on?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-14.
Paul begins this section on unity in the church by declaring an end to the distinctions that were dividing the early church. In particular, ethnic/cultural divides (Jew vs. Gentile) & power divides (slave vs. free / powerful vs. oppressed).
Have you experienced racial, ethnic, & economic divides in your own experience of Christianity & faith today?
What does Paul point to as the “connection” that holds together these racially diverse groups trying to live in community as one Body?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:15-26.
In these verses, we read Paul’s description of the Church as a reflection of Christ’s Body. One of the central tensions of this section of Scripture is the paradox that Paul calls the church to live in with spiritual unity in the midst of racial/ethnic diversity. For Paul, the Church, as a reflection of God’s Kingdom, was healthiest when it was diverse & united.
What reasons does Paul give for needing diversity? Discuss the imagery Paul uses.
What do you make of this paradox? How can the Church possess both a diversity in its body & unity in its living out the Gospel on earth?
How do you think Paul’s discussion on diversity impact how we think about issues of racial diversity & racial divides within the Church? What vision of Church does this cast & how often do you see it realized in our context?
Finally, re-read verse 25 & 26. Paul ends by calling the diverse body to show unity in its ability to show equal concern for one another & to suffer alongside any part of the body that suffers. This was particularly hard for an ethnically mixed church in the 1st century that had strong divides between its Gentile & Jewish believers, as well as its rich & poor believers. Paul references throughout his letters that this showed up in each group often lacking care, compassion, service, generosity, & empathy for the other group.
Do you see the Church struggling with any similar issues of racial & cultural diversity today?
How good is the Church (Global Church & Element3 locally) at showing equal concern for all believers, regardless of their race & ethnic background? How about when it comes to sharing in the suffering of believers that may not look or live like us?
Where (or to WHO) can we grow in our ability to show compassion to all people equally?
Getting Out of the Hole
Review the “response cards” for the week. Pray the prayer and meditate on the words, Explore the topic, and choose a way to Act on your response.
Check out our resource guide from this past year’s E3 Race & Diversity Dialogue:
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, April 21: Come celebrate Easter with us! We will be having gatherings at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, & 12:30 PM.
* Please see mye3.org for details.