There are seven types of story that come up again and again across every time and culture. This term we’ll explore those stories, consider what they tell us about our humanity, and how they help us understand the true story of Jesus.
Today, we’re thinking about Voyage and Return stories.
Ask for a volunteer to pray a short prayer that however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
Ask group members:
This video tells the story of Alice in Wonderland, where Alice’s journey away from home totally changes how she understands herself and her home.
Voyage and Return stories show how we can take life at home for granted. Restlessness and blindness might draw us away. It's only when we’re away that we understand ourselves and home for what it really is.
Ask for a volunteer to read Luke 15:11-31 to the group.
This video will help your group encounter the cost of Jesus’ journey away from home that ensured our welcome as his children.
Jesus introduces two sons of the same father.
In Jewish custom the younger son's request for his inheritance whilst his father was still alive was in effect writing the father’s death certificate. It’s an inexcusable sin which would have brought shame on the whole family.
At the end of the story we’ve witnessed the father reach out to both of his sons, despite their attitudes to Him. Jesus uses these sons to depict how we might relate to Him.
As the son plans his return home, we witness in his words a change of heart towards his father. The disgrace he brought upon the family has both a horizontal and a vertical dimension to it. These words then serve as his confession. In the ancient world, to offend your father was to offend God himself. Disrespect for the created order within a family was to disregard that which God had blessed you with. If the son is to receive forgiveness he must recognise his wrong doings to both God and his father.
The lavish love and acceptance offered to these sons is undeserved. It’s God’s lavish love for us that led Jesus to the cross so that, as lost daughters and sons, we too might be welcomed home. Our welcome cost Him everything – His very life. And yet he willingly gave it.
Listen to the video below.
Encourage your group to reflect individually whilst they listen.
It can feel daunting to raise the topic of faith with our friends. A great place to start is by telling your own voyage and return story.
Encourage your group to answer the following questions to help map their own story in groups of two or three. Make sure people recognise that their own story may not be a complete one or a work in progress and that's ok.
Now take time to tell your story as one coherent piece. Give each other encouragement and feedback. Pray for the opportunity to share your story with someone this week, and let each other know in your group chat how this prayer is answered.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
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