RIVERSIDE BLOG

Post Author: Judy Moore

Judy Moore is the Associate Pastor at Riverside Church.
May 6, 2022
The Story of US | S3: Disappointment In An Age Of Longing

Teaching Series Introduction:

According to a study from University College London, nearly a quarter of us have experienced a complete breakdown in a significant relationship during the pandemic. Friendships have been stretched; families have been fractured; romances have struggled. Yes, over the last 2 years many of us know that our relationships have taken a serious hit.

This important teaching series is all about those relationships. Rooted in the biblical book of Proverbs, this is a chance to reflect, rebuild and refresh all our relationships in this post-pandemic world.

You may find it helpful to download and take our Relationships Healthcheck alongside this teaching series.

‘The crisis of Covid has distanced us from each other. We see anew how far apart we are. The result must be a new way to bring us together.’
(Jon Yates)

Session 3:
DISAPPOINTMENT IN AN AGE OF LONGING

TEACHING SERIES: The Story of US
TITLE: Session 3: Friendship in an age of romance
BY: Judy Moore
DATE: 8 May 2022
BIBLE PASSAGES: Proverbs (Chapter 13, verses 12) Romans (Chapter 12, verses 1-2) and Mathew (Chapter 26, verses 36-46).  Read online

In the Welsh language, there is a strange word that describes something many of us feel. It is the word Hiraeth. It describes the unattainable desire that we feel for a place that no longer exists, or to which we can never return. It is a homesickness we feel when our ‘home’ is years ago and far away, if it ever really existed at all. What do we do when our relationships are a bit like that – when they are disappointing? When our friends,
families, or partner let us down? What do we do when life isn’t quite what we hoped it would be?

Watch Online: Church At Home

Listen Online

Watch Online

Children’s & Youth Resources:

These resources will be used within the various groups in-person on a Sunday morning. This means that if you are unable to attend one of our Sunday Gatherings, you can still study and follow along with the same material at a time that is best for you. However you study, we encourage you to engage with your group as much as possible. If you would like to know about how you can get connected with our children’s or youth groups please contact us, we would love to hear from you.

Youth Resources

This Weeks Youth Video:

Children’s Resources

This weeks Children’s Video:

Bible Study Questions:

There are three different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.

A. DISCUSSION STARTERS

These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):

1) Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?

2) Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?

3) RESPONSE QUESTION. As a result of the talk, what:

a. Changes do you want to see?

b. Truths do you need to remember?

c. Actions do you need to take?

B. QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE

These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:

 

1) ‘Disappointment is normal.’ Do you agree?

2) Read Proverbs 13:12. What do you make of this proverb? What do you think the phrase ‘tree of life’ means?

3) Read Matthew 26:36-46. What about Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane particularly resonates with you? Why is it such good news that Jesus also seemed to go through lots of ‘heart sickness’  in this passage?

4) Does knowing the reason why Jesus endured such heartbreak – and the ‘joy set before him’ (Hebrews 12:1-2) – have any impact on how you see the disappointments in your life?

5) Read Romans 12:1-2. The author Paul seems to suggest that, in light of Jesus, the fitting response is to surrender everyaspect of life to him which leads to a very different way of thinking. What do you think it might mean to ‘surrender’ your disappointments to him? What might a ‘renewed mind’ lead to in your life?

6) In her talk on Sunday, Judy quoted from PT Forsyth, ‘We shall come one day to a heaven, where we shall gratefully know that God’s great refusals were sometimes the true answers to our truest prayers.’ How does this change how you see your life?

7) Take some time to pray. Ask God for help with the biggest disappointments in your life. Pray that you would know the presence of Christ in the middle of your disappointments, and that God would enable you to see the eternal hope ahead.

N.B. If you haven’t already done so, you may like to take our Relationships Healthcheck as part of this teaching series, to help you reflect on your relationships.

 

C. GOING DEEPER

These are questions to help you go a little deeper, by exploring the wider biblical context.

 

1) In her talk on Sunday, Judy mentioned the Welsh word ‘Hiraeth’, which means a ‘longing, an unattainable desire that we feel for a place that no longer exists.’ Have you ever experienced something similar?

2) Read Proverbs 13:12. What do you make of the proverb? The proverb refers to the ‘tree of life’. See also Genesis 2:9 and Revelation 22:2 that describe humanity’s past and future access to the ‘tree of life’. In what ways does this give a helpful perspective in times when hope is ‘deferred’ or ‘delayed’?

3) Read Matthew 26:36-46. It is noticeable that Jesus’ sorrow was added to by the abandonment of his friends (v38,40,31). What about Jesus’ experience in Gethsemane particularly resonates with you? See Isaiah 53:3. Why is it an encouragement that Jesus also endured disappointment and huge ‘heart sickness’  in this passage?

4) Does knowing the reason why Jesus endured such heartbreak, and the ‘joy set before him’ have any impact on how you see disappointment in your life? In what ways does Hebrews 12:1-2 bring both an encouragement and a challenge?

5) Read Romans 12:1-2. (See also Ephesians 4:20-24.) We often think of living for God in terms of behaviour, morality and actions toward others. However, in addition to these we are also called to think differently (‘renewed minds’). The trajectory of this passage is clear – because of Jesus, we can surrender everything to him, including the way we think. What might this look like with regards to dealing with our disappointments and longings?

6) In her talk on Sunday, Judy quoted from PT Forsyth, ‘We shall come one day to a heaven, where we shall gratefully know that God’s great refusals were sometimes the true answers to our truest prayers.’ See also 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. How does this change how you see your life and your disappointments?

7) Take some time to pray. Ask God for help with the biggest disappointments in your life. Pray that you would know the presence of Christ in the middle of your disappointments, and that God would enable you to see the eternal hope ahead.

N.B. If you haven’t already done so, you may like to take our Relationships Healthcheck as part of this teaching series, to help you reflect on your relationships.

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