Parables of Grace

Parables of Grace

Our lives are a collection of stories. The ones we find ourselves in. The ones we watch and read and listen to. The ones we invent and create.

And what’s curious is how Jesus’ life and ministry were shaped by these same contours. His lived experience...the Hebrew Scriptures and traditions he learned...and, of course, the stories he told.

In our walk through Lent this year, we turn our attention to a particular set of tales Jesus gave his followers. Parables of lost sheep, midnight visitors, and trees that don’t grow fruit.

In the end, we come back to the words of Jesus each year to understand the Divine story and its connection to the meaning of our own. And we hope too that, whether we ‘get’ the parables or not, we begin to see them as “first and foremost God’s way of getting to us.” –Robert Farrar Capon


Lent

Ash Wednesday is the traditional beginning of Lent, the six week season which precedes Easter. For generations now, Christians have sought to deepen their connection to Christ’s death and resurrection by journeying through a season of preparation. We give something up–we create space and lack–in order to participate fully in the moment of resurrection.


On Lost Sheep

We talk about extravagant love that leaves the ninety-nine to look for the lost one, and how when it touches our hearts we want to at least try living in the way of Jesus; to love in the way that does not make sense.

Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

Part 1: Jesus has this remarkable ability to spot the Divine everywhere. We could certainly learn a lesson from his creativity.
Part 2: Grace calls us to live toward a world we can’t quite grasp yet.


The Good Samaritan

This week we are looking at the story of the Good Samaritan and how grace invites us to transcend our categories and see ourselves in the person across from us right now.

Discussion Notes

Bonus Material

Sunday was the parable of the Good Samaritan and one of the really intriguing elements of this story is the question that precedes it: Who is my neighbour?


When in Rome IV

When in Rome IV

We return this year for a penultimate swing through Paul’s letter to the Romans. We’ve been working our way, chapter-by-chapter, through this monumental letter. And this year, we pick up where we left off last spring starting in chapter 9.

Romans is full of heavy theology, but underneath it all is the tender heart of a disciple who wants to communicate the story of Jesus. What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can we experience it? What will it mean for our future? And what does Jesus have to do with our everyday lives?

It’s these fundamental questions that form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes but always pointing us back to Jesus.


Chapter 1-8 Recap - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We are starting our year four in Romans by doing a brief overview of the first eight chapters of the letter.

Bonus Material

For those interested, here is a more detailed breakdown of the major schools of interpretation when it comes to reading Paul.


Part 2 - The Sovereignty to Love - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We are diving into chapter 9 to learn about Paul’s internal conversation with the Israelites and what the sovereignty of God looks like.

Bonus Material

One thing we have to keep in mind when reading Romans is that Paul does not experience the world through the same hyper-individualized lens we do. He experiences life through a much more communal set of categories.


Part 3 - The Righteousness Problem - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Our focus today is on what happens when God chooses us, and we defiantly choose to walk away.


Part 4 - Finding God Everywhere - John Van Sloten

Discussion Notes

Our focus today is on how God can be experiences through everything we see and do.

Bonus Material

Paul’s double entendre in Romans 11 reminds us that there is not such thing as a story that God has not been at work cultivating.


Part 5 - So What Now - Bobbi Salkeld

Discussion Notes

Today we wrap up our fourth series on Romans and discern how to move forward.

Bonus Material

We're finished with Romans until next year but we need to make sure we get Paul's heart. Good thoughts only get you so far. What really matters is how we live and love in community.