Easter Study 2006
Click on the
book cover and download the
Home Study Series
Resurrection hope of the Faith Community:
a call to begin again...
your congregation tried to put “old wine” into “new wineskins”?
Friday, count the number of times “death” (or “dead” or “buried” or
“died”) is mentioned in the sermon. Also keep count of the number of
times “resurrection” (or “raised” or “risen” or “empty tomb”) are
repeated. What is this day about?
personally have advance directives (a living will, medical power of
attorney, organ donor card)? Have you made your funeral arrangements?
Does your congregation encourage you to talk with clergy and your family
and to make your end of life treatment decisions and your funeral wishes
were the coroner, how would you report the reason for the church dying?
Malnutrition? Cancer? Heart failure? Murder? Neglect? Old age?
Why is the
church afraid of dying? Does it not trust God? What is the underlying
If it is
true that you can’t have resurrection without death, that you can’t put
new wine in old wineskins, then how will your congregation go about
dying? Is there an obligation to allow a natural death, even to assist
that death, so that resurrection is free to occur?
see and hear ways in which your congregation is already grieving? What
examples of grief behavior – shock, searching, mitigation, anger,
identity issues – have you noticed? How might you foster discussion
about this grief?
each of the suggestions for fostering the dying process and working
toward resurrection. Would you be willing to experiment with any of
those suggestions? What will happen if you do none of them?
ceremonial (and celebratory) ways might you devise to mourn the DYING
CHURCH? Could you have a wake? A funeral? A planning process? A church
dialogue day followed by a celebration?
that you are standing beside Martha at the tomb of Lazarus. Do you want
them to open the tomb? Are you more afraid of the stench, or of seeing
the dead body? Or are you really afraid that the body will be alive?
What are the implications of this story for the DYING CHURCH and the
Our Lady of
the X‑Files and Zorba
the implication of other life forms in other galaxies affect your
understanding of God?
it take for your congregation to be “radically inclusive”? What would it
take to welcome people of all persuasions? What would it take to
integrate people of different ages, sexes, races, abilities (mental and
physical), into the church, into the service, into the life of the
worship service a production that must be “perfect,” or a reflection of
those gathered at the Great Banquet – both good and bad, abled and
disabled, gay and straight, old and young?
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female...”
Could you imagine adding to that, Martian or Venusian? What if God came
to us in another life form? How would we know?
the congregation that is dying and moving toward resurrection maintain
sensitivity to those in its family who still find comfort and sanctuary
within the old crumbling walls? How do we make room for people both
inside and outside the tent... Do away with the tent? Build a bigger
one? Decide that we need a different structure?
agree that our “evolving understanding of the holy” is changing as we
change as a species? Or do you think that the Jesus‑revelation is a
once‑and‑for‑all‑time definitive revelation? What are the implications
of both beliefs? How do they affect your daily life? How do they affect
your congregational structure and worship?
five favorite hymns. Read the words in them from the point of view of a
post‑ Atonement understanding of the Godforce.
Go to a
service in a megachurch. Come back and discuss in your group. What is
attractive about such a place? What is not? Did you come out feeling
full? Empty? Neither? Was nationalism a theme in any part of the
service? How did that work?
you apply “Christian madness” to your congregation? To your own
imaginary walk (individually or as a group) through your congregation –
the church, the service, the meetings, the suppers, the Sunday school –
with each of the three goggles and describe to the group what you see.
(“X‑ray goggles” allow you to see beneath the surface, into deeper
issues, feelings, emotions, and fears. “Night‑vision goggles” allow you
to see in the darkness, illuminating truth in lies, and life in death.
“Time goggles” allow you to see without constraints of past, present,
and future. Virtual reality.)
your congregation “gone sane”? What would it take to recall your