Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Matthew 7:24-27
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
Metaphors help us make complicated and mysterious concepts in this world more accessible. When describing an Olympic sprinters speed to someone who hasn’t seen the athlete in person we might say, “This athlete was so fast, they ran like the wind”. Without using much processing power, we immediately understand what this phrase means. We know the wind. We can understand that this sprinter is greater than the average runner.
Scripture uses the device of metaphors to help us understand what God is like. These metaphors describe different pieces of God’s character. God fights for justice, like a warrior or army. God pursues his children, like a shepherd pursues a lost sheep. God is a safe place for us to find rest and peace, like a shelter in a storm.
At times we can overuse one metaphor and by doing so, limit our understanding of who God is. For several decades, the army metaphor has been a favorite of the church, and for good reason. God cares for justice and God is not passive when setting things right that have gone wrong. But perhaps it is time to also be reminded of God as a shelter to us. His grace and care are abundant, and they bring healing and renewal to the world. And perhaps it’s also time for the church to embody the character of shelter to our world so that we might be agents of peace and renewal to our community.
What type of metaphors of the church resonate with you and why?
After reading the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-10), What metaphors come to mind that describe the type of community and people Jesus envisioned?
Isaiah wrote a lot about God being a shelter from the storm (Is 4:2-6; 25:1-5; 32:1-2). After reading those passages what do they tell you about God?
If Jesus’ teaching is the rock that shelters are built upon, what are some examples of the storms people face and how does Jesus’ teaching provide shelter and hope?
How can you and your community group be a shelter for the hurting and hopeless in your neighborhood, workplace, and city?
How has God been a shelter to you? What was the storm you found yourself in when you sought shelter in God?
Spend some time praying for one another. For those in the midst of a storm in their life, pray for that shelter of God to be real and present.