Sermon Series – 29 May – 4 June 2017

Joy Series
Week #5: Pillars of Joy – Part 2
(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 29th May to 4th June 2017)
FOCUS PASSAGE/S: Various texts included in questions below.
Part 2 of the Pillars of Joy focusses on 4 qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity.
1. Read Matthew 6:9-15. The sentiment “forgive and forget” can be unhelpful to those who have experienced deep pain. Discuss: “Instead, forgiveness is a choice, for without it we remain tethered to the person who harmed us… they hold the keys to our happiness. When we forgive we take back control of our emotions and live healthier daily lives.”
2. Read 1 Thess. 5:12-18. Discuss: “Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the life we have and the moment that we are experiencing. Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and may be the only way to savour it.”
3. How is every moment a gift and an opportunity for us to express gratitude?
4. Read Mark 5:35-42. Compassion…’suffering with’… How do you respond to the statement, “I have enough problems of my own. Why should I worry about being more compassionate and think about others who are suffering?” Why do you think compassion is in our self-interest?
5. How is cultivating compassion an alchemy that transforms your own struggles, pain and suffering in order to joyfully focus on others?
6. Read 2 Cor. 8:1-15. In regards generosity Tutu says, “It is in giving that we receive… When we grow in a self-forgetfulness – in a remarkable way I mean we discover that we are filled with joy… in the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.” How does/has compassion lead to generosity in your life/faith so that it expresses our interdependence and personal long-term well-being?
7. Generosity is deeply rooted in us. How have you experienced generosity, especially by someone who materially has very little? What was your attitude and how was joy a part of that experience?
PRAYER TOPICS:
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
 We continue to pray for the Nation – for truth to be revealed especially in regards to corruption, and mismanagement of state resources that affects all but especially the poorest of the poor.
 Continue to pray for the situations in regards to crime, rape, femicide and all forms of gender-based violence. Pray for voices that will speak out in our own community and throughout the land that give a clear message that any form of sexual violation and exploitation is ‘simply not okay!’ Pray for those who work in safe houses and for security personnel who are investigating and fighting against these acts.
 Pray for the ministry and mission projects of HMC so that the love of God is spread to all and that compassion and generosity will be at the forefront of this witness.
 Pray for each other as you’ve shared together and identified needs within in your group – we pray that joy will be cultivated within our hearts and minds.
Amen.