These group devotions can be used throughout the season of Lent for committee meetings or household devotions. Posted below is a sample for the first week of Lent. To get access to all of them, download the document below:
The format of these devotions is based on the excellent Growing Together: Spiritual Exercises for Church Committees. I like about how Harold Eppley starts out with some really approachable opening questions. I used his book a lot in my last call, where devotions were a newer practice and folks had some discomfort about weighing in on theological conversation. These icebreakers helped us get some great conversation going, and then it carried over to the theological discussions later in the devotion.
Depending on how many people you’re meeting with, how many of the discussion questions you use, and how much everyone likes to talk, doing one devotion can take anywhere between ten minutes and one hour. Your mileage will vary!
First week of Lent: “A Bow in the Clouds”
The leader prays out loud:
Protecting God, throughout the flood you kept Noah’s family and all the critters safe aboard the Ark. Here at the start of our Lenten journey, shelter us with the same promise of safety and love that protected them through forty days and nights. Amen.
Each person responds to one of the following:
- Tell the story of a time you experienced a flood.
- Describe the last place where you saw a rainbow.
- Describe a memory when someone promised to protect you, or vice versa.
The leader reads the following:
This passage comes just after the waters of the flood have abated. Noah has finally set foot on dry ground, and God now promises to never again destroy the earth through the waters of a flood. God uses “covenant” language, making a promise to Noah using a formula that resembles a legal contract.
A member of the group reads the passage:
“God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’” (Genesis 9:12-16)
The group discusses the following questions, picking and choosing the ones that work best for them, especially if time is limited.
- Unpack that covenant formula mentioned above. Figure out:
- Who are the parties involved in this agreement?
- What does God promise?
- What does it require of the second party?
- What is its sign?
- When has God made us a promise without requiring anything of us first?
- When have you been intimidated by the future? How has God helped you move forward?
- What spiritual practices (if any) have you committed to during this forty-day Lenten journey? How are they going so far? Where do you need God’s help to succeed at them?
The leader prays aloud:
Lord of our lives, let your covenant with Noah and all creatures inspire us to pray for the flourishing of your whole creation; to fast from destructive words and actions, and to give freely to those overwhelmed by floods of misfortune. Amen.