Kingdom Come: Love
This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Andy Tilsley, from our Sutton Service, gave on 13th September. It lasts around 80 minutes, but feel free to extend sections, remove sections, add your own or just do your own thing entirely! Whatever works best for you and your group.
The discussion questions and reflections will work without having listened to the talk, but if you are going to use them you may want to watch the talk before you meet.
Welcome & Prayer (5 mins)
Welcome everyone to the group and remind people of the following:
- As a general rule it’s helpful to keep your mic muted unless you’re talking to reduce background noise.
- During the discussion if you want to speak, raise a hand and I’ll throw the conversation to you.
- We’ll be using the chat function to post links, quotes, Bible verses and prayer requests.
Start your time together by praying, thanking God for the opportunity to be together and asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together (you may want to ask someone else to pray).
Gratitude & Challenges (15-25 mins)
Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share one thing from the last week they are grateful for, and one thing they are finding particularly challenging.
Don’t forget to make it clear who is to share next, and to let people know they can pass if they want to.
Overview & Group discussion (30 mins)
This term we are thinking and praying about what Jesus’ kingdom come ‘in London as in heaven’ might look like. Each week we’ll be looking at a different aspect of the nature of the King and his kingdom, and this week Andy focused upon the foundational truth that Jesus’ kingdom is a kingdom of love and so followers of this kingdom should love God, and love others.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important commandment,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
Andy reminded us that to love God with our whole selves means to enjoy him; to enjoy relationship with him on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis, consciously involving him in our work and play. And then he also encouraged us to create ‘Joan of Arc’ moments where we silence ourselves for long enough to hear his voice.
- At the start of this new term, reflect upon the spiritual disciplines and practices that have helped you to engage most meaningfully with God over the last 6 months. What of those do you want to bring into this season? What other things do you think it would be helpful to start?
- What kinds of things help you remain or return to conscious awareness of God throughout your day?
- Share with one another any books you have read recently that have stirred in you a love for Jesus.
Meditation (5 mins)
You may want to encourage people to close their eyes, sit up straight in their chairs, place their palms face up on their knees/table and concentrate on their breathing – breathe in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds (people may feel more comfortable doing this if their video feed is turned off).
When Jesus responds to the teacher of the law’s question about the most important commandment, he recites the Shema (found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5,) the prayer that Jews traditionally pray twice a day, upon waking and going to sleep. He then adds to it the command of Leviticus 19:18, expanding the Shema by joining together love for God and love for neighbour.
Spend a few minutes reciting and memorising this prayer:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbour as yourself.
Prayer (20 mins)
Move into a time of prayer for one another, for the church, for London and the UK, and the world.
You may want to pray the Lord’s prayer together to end:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.