The Quaker tradition is a model for discernment. These brothers and sisters have over the years developed detailed instructions for collective discernment. When a member of the community needs to make a crucial decision, all form a circle of clarity. Group members can ask the person a series of questions...
God, help us hear your voice in the community around us. Help us to be humble and allow ourselves to be guided by those you are guiding. Reveal to us that which we cannot know for ourselves. Amen.
According to another counterfeit gospel, our inward convictions about God are enough, so our actions do not really matter. Isaiah chastises his audience for being half-hearted in their religious observance. They ignore the plight of the oppressed and the poor, and by doing so they reveal that they do not grasp the heart of God. The psalmist argues that the true faithful are steadfast and generous, and as a result God establishes them and their cause. The understanding of God’s view of the world, Paul writes, must be spiritually discerned, for it opposes the normal thinking of the world. In Matthew, Jesus tells his followers that living faith is shown by bringing flavor and light to the world. Otherwise, our faith is useless to those around us.
Read Isaiah 58:1-12. What can you do to be a foundation of many generations, the repairer of the breach for your community?Read Psalm 112:1-10. How have you seen God’s blessings abound from your faithfulness? How do you remain faithful when God’s blessings seem absent?Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. Consider the many ways wisdom comes. How do you seek to understand God’s wisdom?Read Matthew 5:13-20. When does your faith community resist the call to be the salt of the earth and light of the world? How can you transform yourself or those around you to fulfill God’s commandments?
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