Finding Refuge in God in the Midst of Isolation
Our twelve session Catalyst series for the 2020-21 year, entitled, "Forsaken: Finding Refuge in God in the Midst of Isolation" will begin on November 13, 2020, and end May 14, 2021.
The focus of this series is the lament prayers of Scripture. We know that the feelings of loneliness, despair, and loss of meaning are realities for many people. They were a reality before COVID (when our youth leadership team decided upon this topic), and even more since the pandemic has caused activities and events to be canceled and friends to remain physically distanced. These feelings of loss and loneliness can shake our confidence in God and leaves us questioning why suffering happens. Therefore, in this series, we will use the practice of crying out to God in lament to give language to lived-out experiences and consider how hope can be found in the midst of suffering.
Every other Friday night we will gather together for worship, teaching, and discussion in-person. The teaching portion will also be linked below after each Catalyst. Youth are encouraged to join their small group (otherwise known as Tribe) discussions throughout the week using Flock (click here to join) and participate in the bi-weekly challenges. A page for parents to further engage in conversation with their teens regarding this topic at home is also linked below.
Title: I Cried Out to God for Help
Date: November 13, 2020
Summary: Laments, a crying out of the soul, are found throughout God’s word. The psalmist cries out to God (in fact, one third of all psalms are considered to be lament psalms), Lamentations contains the cries of Jeremiah, Job questions God as he loses everything he held dear, and even Jesus expresses deep sorrow and anguish. In this Catalyst, we will discuss where laments are found in the Bible and the form of these laments - noting how lament moves from plea to praise; drawing the reader into anticipation and creating a pathway between our current reality and the hope to come.
Passage(s): Overview of laments found in the Old and New Testaments (specifically Psalms, Lamentations, Job, and the Gospels).
Title: His Love Endures Forever
Date: November 27, 2020
Summary: To lament is to speak out the reality that we are experiencing, which is the general absence of God’s shalom. Scripture speaks of God’s hesed, commonly translated to “lovingkindness,” which appears over a hundred times within the psalms. To cry out in lament is to come before the Lord with expectation that His hesed will be made evident and He will fulfill His covenantal promises as we endure reality that goes against God’s character.
Passage(s): Psalm 86 and 136
Title: Hear My Voice
Date: December 11, 2020
Summary: A frequent theme in the Psalms is to seek the face of God. Yet, it is not so much about our seeing God, but our being seen by God. We bring our anger, fear, and grief before God, as a cry for relief from suffering with the desire to be seen and heard by God. In this Catalyst we will discuss what it mean to be seen and heard by God.
Passage(s): Psalms 143
Title: How Long?
Date: January 15, 2020
Summary: Jeremiah begins Lamentations with this profound word: ‘ekah’, the Hebrew word for ‘how.’ In fact, this word is the title for Lamenations within Hebrew Scriptures. As we learn to lament, we must begin the same way and express our ‘how’ questions to God.
Passage(s): Lamentations 1:1 and Psalm 13
Title: Have Mercy
Date: January 29, 2020
Summary: We have no firm answer to the question of why we suffer. While some suffering may result from the world’s brokenness, corruption, or our own sinful nature, other suffering is not the clear result of something. We never want to minimize the atrocities of others; however, we know that no one can claim to be completely free from sin and there are a few cases where the psalmist cries out in repentance asking God for forgiveness. In this Catalyst, we want to acknowledge our own brokenness in the form of a prayer.
Passage(s): Psalm 51