In this week’s Church at Home, we are looking at the Hebrew word for “love” in the Old Testament, ahavah. What we learn from the story of the Bible is that Yahweh not only feels love for all the world he also acts from love. We are told that when Yahweh rescued the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, it was because he loved them. He felt love, and he showed his love by rescuing them from oppression. After Israel was restored, they were called to show that same kind of active love to those who were socially disadvantaged in their midst. God’s love is a gift to share.Most of us feel overwhelmed by the immense pain and suffering in our world today. It’s easy to see how much there is to remedy and conclude that our actions won’t make a meaningful difference. But God’s love equips us to face these important issues in practical ways that make an impact. Let’s consider this together as we reflect on the meaning of ahavah.

In this week’s Church at Home, we’re looking at the phrase “heaven and earth.” Most of us have trouble thinking about the concept of heaven the way the Bible actually describes it. We tend to imagine it as a beautiful place where we go after we die, but it’s so much more than that. Heaven and earth—God’s space and humans’ space—were originally united as one. When humanity chose to go their own way, those two spaces were driven apart. But Jesus made a way for the two spaces to be one again. Right now we can experience the overlap between heaven and earth, but one day soon we will see the two spaces fully reunited again. As we wait, we are invited by Jesus to live out this prayer, “Father let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In this week’s study, we’ll explore and practice the hope of this reality together.

In this week’s Church at Home, we’re looking at the Hebrew word “shema,” which means to listen. But it’s more than that. Shema is an urgent call to not only hear Yahweh with our ears but to also respond to him with our whole lives. In the pages of the Bible, we see how Yahweh is the one who hears and responds to the cries of the oppressed. As we take time to truly listen to him, we observe his empathy and justice towards the afflicted, changing how we think, feel, and act. In light of current events, what does it look like to let God’s response to the voices of the Black community become our own?

In this week’s Church at Home, we’re looking at the character of God as revealed to Moses in Exodus chapter 34. We see in this passage that though God is first and foremost a loving and merciful God, he will not ignore injustice or evil.We see in the story of the Bible that God is willing to put up with a lot of human failures. But our choices matter, and God will maintain a balance between mercy and justice, which at times means handing us over to the consequences of our decisions. As followers of Jesus, we may be wondering what God is going to do in the world in response to this time of deep unrest and upheaval. But the better question may be to ask ourselves, what are we going to do to carry out God’s will in the world?

This week we’re continuing our reflection on the Bible’s raw and honest portrait of the human condition. We will look at the word “transgression” in the Bible, which refers to ways that people betray or violate someone’s trust. This concept provides us with an important perspective as we continue to lament and draw attention to the realities of racial injustice in our culture. It’s never pleasant to focus on our failures or the ways that we are complicit in the betrayal of others, but it’s necessary. Only then can we open ourselves up to the healing and forgiving love of God that transforms us into agents of justice and peace in our world.

For this week’s Church at Home, we invite you to reflect on the sadness and anger that has erupted in our culture over the realities of racial injustice in our world. We also invite you to ponder the raw and honest portrait of human sin in the Bible. The biblical authors want us to take an honest look at our personal and communal failures, but not so we can blame others or hate ourselves. Rather, an honest evaluation of our human condition points us to the only source of ultimate hope: the generous love of God that has the power to recreate us as new humans who can truly love God and neighbour.

For this week’s Church at Home, we’re going to invite you to reflect on three moments in Scripture that show the Spirit of God at work in the world — it’s timely. As our world continues to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re entering a new season of difficulty, as leaders debate and divide over how to move forward. And as followers of Jesus find themselves drawn into this complex set of issues, there’s no better time to remind ourselves of the work of God’s Spirit in the world. In the storyline of the Bible, God’s Spirit is in the business of generating life and order out of dismal and lifeless situations.

As we all continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the experiences we’ve all been having is the feeling of losing control. Across nations and neighbourhoods, we’ve all been made helpless before the spread of the virus. Never in such a short amount of time have so many humans been forced to make drastic changes to their lives with work, food, family, and health. If we had any illusions about being in control of our lives, they’re long gone by now.And while this stripping away of control is a painful experience, according to the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, it’s one of the best worst things that can happen to us. One of the first steps toward biblical wisdom is a posture of total surrender before God. And nothing helps us get there quicker than losing control of our lives. This kind of loss can also help us rediscover the many simple gifts that God provides every day—if we have eyes to see them. In this week’s Church at Home, we’ll reflect on Ecclesiastes and ponder its surprising wisdom.
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