Sunday School | 2018 Advent IV, Year C


Reflections for St Philip’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia
Sunday, December 23, 2018 / Advent IV, Year C

Gospel: Luke 1:39-55

39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[a] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Ideas for discussing the application of this lesson to our daily lives:

  1. For the second Sunday in a row, we have audaciousness. This time, Mary is the one who is bold and daring.  In our current political and economic environment, how would Mary’s message, if spoken today, be received?
  2. Watch Rev. Brian McLaren’s first talk (2/15/2017) he gave just after Trump’s inauguration. 

    Regardless of political affiliation, objective individuals will admit our government’s dehumanizing of whole swaths of peoples are at a level we thought we’d never see again. The racism, bigotry, and xenophobic backlash that is occurring at a national level is not in line with Jesus’ teachings.  Does the church have a responsibility to respond to this?  Does St. Philip’s?  If so, what should our response be?
  3. Watch Rev. Brian McLaren’s second talk

    What role does spirituality play in our response?  Why is spirituality so important as the motivator, source of direction, source of strength of any resistance the church may put up?

  4. Watch the Way of Love Promo again.  

    Do we want to go in this direction for Sunday School?