Young and Spirited (part 5)
Jayne reminded us of Esther’s story and spoke about her quality decision-making. These “pivot points” in her life (and in each of our lives) are really important. Thanks Jayne!
For the study this week, I want to focus more on how the Jewish community responded to her story. See, the story of Esther doesn’t just end. It finishes by describing the feast of Purim, an annual Jewish tradition for remembering the story of Esther. You can read a bit about how the festival is practised today here.
For your growth group, someone should totally bake hamantaschen. Or, who needs a growth group?! — just bake them to eat at home alone. Nom nom nom.
Ice-breaking activity: On a large piece of newsprint, make a list together entitled “Being religious”. What things does the term “religious” evoke for the group? Are they mostly positive things? Mostly negative? What are some of your experiences of “being religious”?
Thank God for the regular rhythm of growth group and Christian community. Ask God to bless the time together. If alone, thank God for the regular rhythms of faith in your life, and ask God for help to consolidate these practices.
Read, with passion, Esther 9:18-23
Consider this tradition and some of the Christian traditions we celebrate. Do you see any crossover with any of our traditions? In what ways?
Do you warm to regular traditions, religious practices, and rituals. Why or why not?
What are the strengths or weaknesses of traditions and rituals?
On another piece of newsprint, draw a massive Venn diagram. Label one circle “spiritual people”. Label the other “religious people”. Where the circles intersect, write “Both”. Based on your understanding of what it means to be spiritual or religious, where would you place yourself on the diagram and why?
If your growth group is large enough, facilitate a lively debate arguing which is more important — being “spiritual” or “religious”. People don’t necessarily have to agree with the side their arguing for! (If you’re alone, you might like to journal a mock argument from a contrary position to your own).
Reflect on your own personal faith life. What rhythms/traditions do you have that help you remember and live the story of God-with-us? Share ideas/resources with one another. Inspire one another.
Pray together (or alone) for our rhythms of faith to form us, our traditions to ground us, our worship to centre us, that we might better serve God and others.