Faith Like A Child: Week 1 Discussion Guide

Faith Like a Child – Part 1  Wonder
A dandelion, a worm, a butterfly, a rock, a seashell, a rainbow, a cloud – all have the possibility of wonder. Things in our everyday surroundings that so easily go unnoticed often become the object of fascination and/or amazement to the children in our lives.  
  • Do you remember your first big natural discovery? 
  • Or have you been the recipient of some precious wildflower/weed offered with affection from a little one? 
  • Have you heard the excitement of “oh look, oh look, oh look”? 
  • In our discussion today we are invited to consider the possibility of wonder – to be close enough to the ground, unworried enough to be present and surprised by things we might see if we look. Could it be that the gospel of grace is such a wonder?  

Ice Breaker: 
Share a time or an experience from your childhood when you were suddenly aware or amazed by some natural phenomenon or when you were captivated by some creature or element of nature.  

Opening Prayer:  
Thank you, God, for this time together today.  Thank you for each person in our group.  Thank you for the relationships that have grown this year as we have been together…sharing our thoughts, questions, and doubts…as well as our joys and sorrows.  Thank you for being with us. As we begin this last series of study this season, God, we ask to be awakened to and amazed by the wonder of life – the wonder of your world, of your grace, and of Christ in each of us.  Amen

Scripture:  Psalms 65:5-13
In righteousness you answer us, by your awesome deeds, God of our salvation–you, who are the security of all the far edges of the earth, even the distant seas.  You establish the mountains by your strength; you are dressed in raw power. You calm the roaring seas, calm the roaring waves, calm the noise of the nations.  Those who dwell on the far edges stand in awe of your acts.  You make the gateways of morning and evening sing for joy.  You visit the earth and make it abundant, enriching it greatly by God’s stream full of water.  You provide people with grain, because that is what you’ve decided .  Drenching the earth’s furrows, leveling its ridges. You soften it with rain showers; you bless its growth.  You crown the year with your goodness; your paths overflow with rich food. Even the desert pastures drip with it, and the hills are dressed in pure joy. The meadowlands are covered with flocks, the valleys decked out in grain–they shout for joy; they break out in song!

This Psalm is a praise to God – likely written as a song sung during the harvest festival.   Looking back at the beginning of the Psalm, God is praised for his protection and provision.  The section we are considering goes on to elaborate how God’s goodness continues.  
  • How does the writer use natural phenomena to describe a grand view of God?  Mountains?  Oceans and storms?  Rain?
  • In verse 5 and again in verse 8, a group is referred to as “those who dwell on the far edges of the earth.”  Who is this group and why are they mentioned?

Verse 7 uses the word “calm” three times – calm the roaring seas, the roaring waves, and the noise of the nations.
  • Why do you think the same word is repeated and how is each use differently? 
  • How might God’s power to calm affect you personally?
What does the rhythm of morning and night incite in you?  What does dawn/sunrise inspire or provoke in you?
Living in the midwest, we are witnesses of seasons and the rituals of planting and harvesting.
  • Whether you observe this on the farms located outside of the city or while planting annual flowers/mowing lawns/shoveling snow at your home, do you agree the evidence of nature is beyond our control and always in view?  
  • In what ways do children experience these wonders differently than we as adults?

Perhaps some children have such a greater sense of wonder when they spend time outside.  Outdoors is a big place for a young child!  Maybe it’s because they are closer to the ground that they see tiny rocks as treasures.  It does seem, however, that interacting with our natural surroundings inspires wonder.   If it’s possible for you, try to spend time outdoors on a regular basis.   Take a walk in the park or along one of the many walking trails in and around the city.   There are a number of natural preserves to visit – elk, butterfly, botanical gardens, birds.  Or maybe the wonders of the night sky would be more interesting.  Be prepared to share with your group next week what you tried.  
Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center – short, beautiful trails right in the heart of Kirkwood, free admission  
Castlewood State Park – located in Ballwin, straddles the lush valley of the Meramec River, excellent for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or picnics, free, day-use only  
Grant’s Farm – home to more than 900 animals representing more than 100 species from six continents, located on Gravois Rd in South County  
Missouri Botanical Gardens – free hours available for St. Louis City/County residents, special exhibition events, much more  
Closing prayer
God, you are bigger than we know – bigger than we can imagine.  All of creation is yours and you sustain it by your own hand.  We were not there when this earth was established, but we see the glory of life year after year, springtime and harvest.  Open our eyes to see the wonder of this earth and this life.  Let us be astounded by nature that we might be even more captivated by your great love for us – the love that brought to us the wonder of Christ.  In his name we pray, Amen.

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