Catch up on how things have been over the past week (over drinks and snacks if possible), taking time to let any new members introduce themselves. Then ask group members to:
This term, we’re exploring some of the meals Jesus shared. Not only will this help us get to know Jesus better, we’ll see how the way he shared meals has loads of implications for how we experience student life today.
Ask for a volunteer to read Luke 9:10-17 to the group, praying a short prayer that, however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
If you’re not gathered in person, the leader should project the video for the group through sharing their screen. If you’re using Zoom, make sure you have optimized your screen share for video. You can download the video to watch offline.
Suggested questions to help your discussion.
Read Isaiah 25:6-8. This passage would have been well-known to those in the crowd. It pictures the time when God’s kingdom will come in its fullness.
Some sceptics suggest that this account of the feeding of the five thousand is simply about the principle of sharing. They suggest that, having seen Jesus’ willingness to share, the crowd were moved to share their food with each other. Those with extra food shared what they had with those who had nothing – such that there were twelve basketfuls of food left over.
The big problem with this interpretation is that there’s not a shred of evidence for it! It’s far better to read Luke’s account at face value: that Jesus is able to create and provide food for his people (just like God in the Old Testament), and that he has come to bring in the kingdom of God (pictured in places like Isaiah 25:6-8).
Feeding the hungry is both an act of compassion and a demonstration of the presence of God’s kingdom.
Today’s episode repeatedly shows Jesus’ ability in the face of human inability.
Ask someone to pray in the light of your discussions, especially that you’d remember that God is committed to your provision and your good.
God has given us physical bodies which have needs for things like food, water, sleep and exercise. Sadly, in a world broken by sin, our relationship with these things is distorted. Whilst the focus of this series isn’t a theology of food, it’s good to be aware that life in a broken world involves wrestling with complex issues around food, meals and the body.
All of us have a complicated relationship with food, but some in your Impact Group will feel this struggle more acutely. Some will go through times of eating too much or too little, perhaps during a difficult season of life. Some are physically sick when exposed to certain foods (such as gluten intolerance, suffered by those with coeliac disease). Others may struggle with a mental illness that presents itself as an eating disorder. Try to be mindful of these issues throughout this series, and especially during this session.
If you or others in your group could do with some help in any of these areas, contact your GP and a trusted friend at church. For eating disorder support, the BEAT website is a great source of information for both those suffering and those walking alongside.
We’ve seen this week that food is part of God’s good provision for us.
Feed back on how you got with last week’s activity, then choose another to undertake together this week (ideally a different category to whatever you did last time).
Get nourished: for group bonding
Set up a rota for bringing snacks to your Impact Group. This could be a great chance to try foods from different cultures, or for the keen bakers among you to bless others with home-made goods!
Offer a taste: to do together
Where near you has a reputation for great food: a deli, farmers’ market, café… or even a takeaway?! Arrange an Impact Group visit, taking friends with you, together enjoying the best of God’s provision!
Add spice: a personal challenge
Ask flatmates to grow fresh herbs in a pot with you, aiming to connect more meaningfully and thankfully with what you’re eating.
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