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This story wrestles with a culture that believed disease and
misfortune were God’s punishment. Someone did wrong;
someone sinned. A person or even parents could cause lasting
illness—so the disciples believed, and they want Jesus to settle
their bet of who is at fault. The past determines the present, and...
Gracious God, lead me from the past into this present moment. Ferret out wisdom from my journey, and place it on my path. Set me free to live with compassion for others, kindness to strangers, and gentleness with myself. Help me see others and myself in the light of your love and grace. Amen.
First Samuel 16 reminds us of the bold risk that Yahweh took in the anointing of this young and unheralded shepherd. If 1 Samuel 16 causes us to wonder about the adequacy of all human shepherds, Psalm 23 reassures us that one Shepherd never fails. The New Testament passages consider the tension between light and darkness as a metaphor for the conflict between good and evil. In Ephesians 5, the struggle has already been resolved but takes seriously the continuing problem of sin. By means of the love and presence of Jesus Christ, even the power of evil cannot withstand the light. Then John 9 emphasizes the power of Christ as a bringer of light in the story of the man born blind.
• Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. How often do you allow external appearances to affect your decisions? In what ways are you learning to look on the heart?
• Read Psalm 23. When do you take time for yourself by slowing your pace, breathing deeply, and allowing God to restore your soul? How might this become a daily habit?
• Read Ephesians 5:8-14. How do you discover what pleases God? How does your living reflect your discovery?
• Read John 9:1-41. When have you experienced a “healing” that brought you back into community—either at home, work, or faith setting?
Respond by posting a prayer.
"Discovery Weekend changed me. I now have a better and stronger relationship with God because of it. Also, it has changed our church because people from all grades got closer together." (Discovery Weekend is an Upper Room spiritual formation experience for middle schoolers).