The following article has been reposted from the United Methodist Church General Commission on Religion and Race and written by Gethsemane member Deacon Dr. Arthuree Wright. To view the original post please visit the GCORR website.
Often, we hear the term “beloved community,” and seek to live into it without a firm grasp on how to do so. Using the resource entitled, “25 Traits of the Beloved Community,” engage in the following exercises. They can be used together or separately.
SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: (options include)
- Individuals reflect on one scripture each day or each week;
- Small group reflects on one scripture each week;
- Large group divides into smaller groups, each of which takes one scripture on which to reflect.
- Preacher uses scripture reflection as part of work for sermon preparation.
- Read the resource, “25 Traits of the Beloved Community.”
- Read the scripture text.
- OPTION ONE:
- List which of the 25 traits of the Beloved Community are reflected in the text.
- Notice which of the 25 traits are not reflected.
- Reflect and Discuss (or journal). What does this mean for the life of your church? Your community?
- OPTION TWO:
- Name one way the Beloved Community resource helps you think about the text in a new way.
- Name one way the text helps you think about the Beloved Community in a new way.
- Reflect and Discuss (or journal). What would change if your church took these new insights seriously? What resistance would you encounter to this change?
Personal Application and Questions for Reflection
- Go through the list of 25 traits of the beloved community and choose 3 to work with.
- If in a large group, create 3 small groups and assign one aspect to each group. If in a small group, work in pairs or in triads (3’s) with one trait per grouping.
- Focusing on the trait you have been assigned, respond to the following statements/questions on a separate piece of paper (be ready to respond to the larger group):
- Initial reaction to the trait;
- Fears associated with it;
- What would the ideal of this trait look like in church?
- If there were no boundaries that stood in the way, what would the fullest version of this trait look like in your church?
- What boundaries DO stand in the way of that?
- What could overcome those boundaries?
- Action Plan: in the large group after hearing the smaller group share responses A-F, list what your church could do in the next 24 hours, 1 week, and 1 month to actualize even a partial version of this trait.