Subject: Spiritual Formation Kit: Luke 1:26-38

  HMBFC ____
Spiritual Formation Kit
DIY Bible study

After pondering the Scripture passage for this week's worship gathering, the staff of Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community put together this spiritual formation kit for groups and individuals to use.

We hope that it will encourage transformation as you encounter God's voice in fresh ways through the Bible; connection as you talk and pray together; and interaction as the sermons become less of a Sunday morning monologue and more of a week-long community conversation.
Frame your time together with prayer.
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
Follow this link to center your hearts and minds with silence, the responsive prayers, and/or music. Read and discuss this week's passage from Luke instead of the passages suggested by Common Prayer. After discussing the passage with the questions below, close your time with prayer for each other and the benediction.
This week's text
Read this passage aloud once or twice.

Compare this week's passage to parallels version in Matthew and Mark. 
Background Info

Enhance your knowledge with insights from scholar-in-residence Dr. Dan
Last week we saw how the birth of John the Baptist to the aged Zechariah and the previously barren Elizabeth was—despite its exceptional nature—on par with the conceptions of biblical heroes such as Isaac and Samson. The story concerning the angelic announcement of the conception of Jesus alongside that of John provides an instance of a literary pattern known as step parallelism or climactic parallelism. The miraculous nature of Jesus’ conception is parallel to but exceeds that of John’s conception, for Jesus is born not to a barren woman but to a virgin. In at least one sense, you could say that Jesus is John 2.0. And for Luke, it is on account of Jesus’ virginal conception and divine parentage that “he will be called Son of God” (v. 35).
While Matthew also relates an account of the virginal conception, other New Testament authors link Jesus’ identity as God’s son with different events. Mark, our earliest Gospel, lacks an account of the virginal conception and instead identifies Jesus as God’s Son at his baptism by John the Baptist. When Jesus emerges from the Jordan River, he hears the voice of God saying, “You are my Son, the beloved.” If this is meant to echo Psalm 2:7—“You are my son; today I have begotten you”—Mark seems to associate the begetting of Jesus as God’s son with the day of his baptism. Paul, an even earlier writer, says Jesus “was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3­–4). So for Paul, Jesus’ sonship is associated not with his conception or his baptism, but with his resurrection.
As we move from earlier to later sources (Paul -> Mark -> Matthew -> Luke), the identification of Jesus as God’s son appears to move from later to earlier events (resurrection -> baptism -> conception). This trajectory continues into the latest New Testament Gospel (John), which identifies Jesus as the pre-existent son sent from above by the father (see John 1:1; 10:36).
One can read this evidence in two different ways. Some look at this developing tradition and conclude that belief in Jesus as God’s son originated with his resurrection and that this resurrection belief inspired the story of the virginal conception. Other interpreters will suggest, to the contrary, that this trajectory is a reflection of the early church’s coming to a fuller and truer understanding of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God. You may want to discuss with your study groups which interpretation makes the most sense to you.
Reflection Questions
Guide discussion with these questions or ask your own.
  1. Does Luke mean the same thing by “virgin” as the prophet Isaiah did (Isaiah 7:14)?
  2. Do you believe that Mary was a virgin? If so, talk about how that is important to your understanding of Jesus. If not, why not? And what do you do when we say the Apostles Creed or sing “Silent Night?” Just kinda mumble those lines?
  3. The name Jesus means “Yahweh saves.” It was also a very common name - almost like naming him “John Smith.” What does the name of Jesus tell us about God? About ourselves?
  4. What sorts of social expectations did Elizabeth and Mary have to deal with regarding their pregnancies? Where did those ideals come from? And what does it mean for Gabriel to then declare that Mary is the “favored one.”
  5. Does the relationship between Joseph and Jesus challenge any conventional ideas about the “nuclear family?” How might their relationship have inspired some of the things that Jesus had to say about “family” as an adult?
Our Response
Consider how to act on today's insights.

“It seems to me that here we should admire above all her obedience. And so we should be ready to obey, too. This obedience is revolutionary, because it’s obedience to love. Obedience to love is very revolutionary, because it commands us to disobey everything else.”
- Alejandro in The Gospel in Solentiname
  1. Think of a situation in which obedience to love requires disobedience to something else (could be an example from your own life or something hypothetical). How would being obedient to love make you feel in this situation?
  2. Gabriel says, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” Is there a place in your life where you need to trust that nothing is impossible?
Bonus Round
Go deeper this week with further reading and reflection.

Check out these related podcasts by by Mark Goodacre, Professor of New Testament & Christian Origins, Department of Religious Studies, Duke University.

Is the Virgin birth based on a mistranslation?

Talk about this stuff with other people
Join a weekly discussion group
Just contact the leader to get directions.

HMBFC / Thursdays @ 7pm / Penny Lyon
HIGHLAND PARK / Thursdays @ 9:15am / Emma Orbin
NORTH SIDE / Thursdays @ 6:30pm / Belle Battista
SOUTH SIDE / Wednesdays @ 7pm / Jeff Eddings
YOUNG ADULTS (at HMBFC) / Thursdays @ 7pm / Natalie Wardius
MT. LEBANON / Thurs. @ 7pm bi-weekly / Barb & Don Wardius

2700 Jane Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.