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CELEBRATING

AT 25

Children’s Bible Study


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SINCE, THEN, WE KNOW WHAT IT IS TO FEAR THE LORD, WE TRY TO PERSUADE OTHERS. WHAT WE ARE IS PLAIN TO GOD, AND I HOPE IT IS ALSO PLAIN TO YOUR CONSCIENCE. WE ARE NOT TRYING TO COMMEND OURSELVES TO YOU AGAIN, BUT ARE GIVING YOU AN OPPORTUNITY

In 1991, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was formed by free and faithful Baptists who were compelled by the love of Christ to work together. Twenty-five years later, CBF is a Christian network comprised of individuals and churches that continue to work together to spread the love of Christ.

TO TAKE PRIDE IN US, SO THAT YOU CAN ANSWER THOSE WHO TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT IS SEEN RATHER THAN IN WHAT IS IN THE HEART. IF WE ARE “OUT OF OUR MIND,” AS SOME SAY, IT IS FOR GOD; IF WE ARE IN OUR RIGHT MIND, IT IS FOR YOU. FOR CHRIST’S

You and your congregation are invited to journey with us as we discover all of the ways that the love of Christ urges us on. What does the love of Christ compel you to do? Who does the love of Christ compel you to be? Who does the love of Christ compel your church to be?

LOVE COMPELS US, BECAUSE WE ARE CONVINCED THAT ONE DIED FOR ALL, AND THEREFORE ALL DIED. AND HE DIED FOR ALL, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE SHOULD NO LONGER LIVE FOR THEMSELVES BUT FOR

Through the example of what moves Hot Wheels cars in the children’s lesson, the question of why churches partner together posed in the youth lesson or the exploration of what it means to no longer live for ourselves in the adult lesson, these Bible studies encourage us to become more fully captivated by the love of Christ in everything we do.

HIM WHO DIED FOR THEM AND WAS RAISED

Each lesson includes engagement with the biblical text, questions for group discussion and a time of response and prayer. If you have time, read the Litany of Celebration together. To download the litany and to get information about special anniversary events and the fundraising campaign, visit www.cbf.net/cbf25. To learn more about the three areas that the 25th Anniversary highlights — sustaining global missions, forming healthy churches, nurturing young Baptists — watch our “Foundations to the Future” video series.

Editor

AGAIN. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-15

Aaron Weaver, CBF Communications Manager

Associate Editor Carrie McGuffin, CBF Communications Assistant Specialist

Graphic Designer Travis Peterson, CBF Graphic Design Specialist

Adult Bible Study Author Joshua Hearne, CBF Field Personnel, Danville, Va.

Children Bible Study Author Becky Caswell-Speight, Minister to Families with Children, Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Youth Bible Study Author Jeremy Colliver, Minister to Families with Youth, Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.


CBF AT 25: CHILDREN’S BIBLE STUDY Ministry Focus: Celebrating 25 years of CBF 2 Corinthians 5:4-15 Before you Begin: 1. Gather a basket of Matchbox/ Hot Wheels cars, crayons/ markers, masking tape, 8 ½x11 paper and 11x17 paper (for older children) 2. Create a sign that reads “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship” 3. Visit the CBF 25th Anniversary website to learn more about the plans for CBF’s 25th Anniversary: www.cbf.net/cbf25

Getting Started Ask: 1. Did you know that our church is connected to a larger group of churches called the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship? 2. What do you know about this larger group of churches that we are a part of?

Say: This year the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) turns 25 years old. This year, our church, as well as all of the other churches to which we are connected, will have the opportunity to help celebrate CBF’s anniversary. We will also think about what God would want for our churches to do together next as we celebrate.

3. What makes us connect and why do we choose to work together? 4. In what ways do we connect?

Biblical Connection Activity: Ask children to pick out their favorite toy car from the pile. For younger children, create a track on the floor with masking tape. Allow children to drive their cars along the track. As older children arrive, have them create their own tracks across their 11x17 sheets of paper. They can then tape their tracks together to make a large track for the whole group.

Ask:

Read:

2 Corinthians 5:11-14

Ask: 5. Have you ever felt motivated by love?

Say:

6. How does God’s love motivate you?

The Bible tells us that God’s love compels us to move. Does anyone know what the word “compels” means? (Allow time for children to come up with a definition for the word compel. Have a definition of your own to share with them as well.)

7. What about our church — does God’s love motivate our church? How so? 8. Think about all the churches that work together to form the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Does God’s love motivate all of them? How do you think God’s love motivates them?

1. What makes the car go? 2. How fast or slow did your car move? 3. What made the difference in how fast or slow your car moved? 4. Does anything ever motivate you to move and go in a certain direction like you have had your cars do today?

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Respond Say:

Action:

Ask:

In our scripture today, Paul is urging the church in Corinth to be moved forward by Christ’s love.

1. Imagine you are Paul and you are in charge of leading the church. What are some ways you think you could help them move forward in God’s love?

Have children draw a picture of one of the ways they answered the above question. Ask the children to write a sentence below their drawings about how they would encourage people to move forward in God’s love. Following the lesson, display the pictures and sentences in a prominent area for your congregation to see.

PRAY God, whose very breath gives life to us all, you took death upon your shoulders so that all might live and follow after you in the way of love. Help us to live lives of love and mercy that will point to you with every breath. We ask these things in your name, with the breath have you given us. Amen.

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CELEBRATING

AT 25

Youth Bible Study


FI VE

EN TY TW

SINCE, THEN, WE KNOW WHAT IT IS TO FEAR THE LORD, WE TRY TO PERSUADE OTHERS. WHAT WE ARE IS PLAIN TO GOD, AND I HOPE IT IS ALSO PLAIN TO YOUR CONSCIENCE. WE ARE NOT TRYING TO COMMEND OURSELVES TO YOU AGAIN, BUT ARE GIVING YOU AN OPPORTUNITY

In 1991, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was formed by free and faithful Baptists who were compelled by the love of Christ to work together. Twenty-five years later, CBF is a Christian network comprised of individuals and churches that continue to work together to spread the love of Christ.

TO TAKE PRIDE IN US, SO THAT YOU CAN ANSWER THOSE WHO TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT IS SEEN RATHER THAN IN WHAT IS IN THE HEART. IF WE ARE “OUT OF OUR MIND,” AS SOME SAY, IT IS FOR GOD; IF WE ARE IN OUR RIGHT MIND, IT IS FOR YOU. FOR CHRIST’S

You and your congregation are invited to journey with us as we discover all of the ways that the love of Christ urges us on. What does the love of Christ compel you to do? Who does the love of Christ compel you to be? Who does the love of Christ compel your church to be?

LOVE COMPELS US, BECAUSE WE ARE CONVINCED THAT ONE DIED FOR ALL, AND THEREFORE ALL DIED. AND HE DIED FOR ALL, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE SHOULD NO LONGER LIVE FOR THEMSELVES BUT FOR

Through the example of what moves Hot Wheels cars in the children’s lesson, the question of why churches partner together posed in the youth lesson or the exploration of what it means to no longer live for ourselves in the adult lesson, these Bible studies encourage us to become more fully captivated by the love of Christ in everything we do.

HIM WHO DIED FOR THEM AND WAS RAISED

Each lesson includes engagement with the biblical text, questions for group discussion and a time of response and prayer. If you have time, read the Litany of Celebration together. To download the litany and to get information about special anniversary events and the fundraising campaign, visit www.cbf.net/cbf25. To learn more about the three areas that the 25th Anniversary highlights — sustaining global missions, forming healthy churches, nurturing young Baptists — watch our “Foundations to the Future” video series.

Editor

AGAIN. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-15

Aaron Weaver, CBF Communications Manager

Associate Editor Carrie McGuffin, CBF Communications Assistant Specialist

Graphic Designer Travis Peterson, CBF Graphic Design Specialist

Adult Bible Study Author Joshua Hearne, CBF Field Personnel, Danville, Va.

Children Bible Study Author Becky Caswell-Speight, Minister to Families with Children, Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Youth Bible Study Author Jeremy Colliver, Minister to Families with Youth, Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.


CBF AT 25: YOUTH BIBLE STUDY Ministry Focus: Celebrating 25 years of CBF 2 Corinthians 5:4-15 Before you Begin: 1. Review the CBF 25th Anniversary materials provided in the resource kit or online at www.cbf.net/cbf25 2. Go to www.cbf.net to read more about CBF and its values, purpose and attributes 3. Gather pencils and paper 4. Bring a copy of “A Prayer of Blessing for CBF Congregations” from the CBF 25th Anniversary resource kit 5. Create a poster with these words and a blank space: “Christ’s love compels us to ________” 6. Gather sticky notes and markers

Getting Started Begin: As the students enter the meeting space, distribute copies of “A CBF Party” handout and writing implements to each student. Instruct students to think of or make up different phrases that start with the letters “CBF” and add them to the front of the handout. You may want to give an example, such as “Come Be Friends” or “Can’t Beat Florida.” Allow them time to complete their handouts as other students arrive.

Say: “Today we are celebrating 25 years of CBF. You just spent the last little while coming up with your own words for ‘CBF;’ but what do the actual letters of the ‘CBF’ we are celebrating today stand for?”

Listen:

Listen to the answers the students come up with until the correct answer is provided. Then continue with a brief introduction to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. (You may research CBF online or use the information provided in the resource kit.)

Ask: 1. Why would our church want to be part of a larger organization such as CBF? 2. What are some of the ways that our church partners with other churches? 3. What are some of the benefits of our church partnering with a group like CBF? 4. Should our church always partner with other churches? 5. How can we celebrate the ways we have partnered with other churches through CBF?

Biblical Basis Begin: Transition to the next part of your session by having students find 2 Corinthians 5:14 in their Bibles. As they find the passage, tell them that you will read just verse 14; then go back and read verses 11 through 15. Read verse 14 again, and then pause and read verses 11 through 15.

For the first hearers of this letter, as well as for us today, it is a reminder of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that enables us now to follow these actions.”

Do:

Create five equal groups from the larger group and give each group a piece of paper with one of the following words written on it: persuade, hope, boast, urge and Say: live. Challenge each group to list on the “As you read or listen to this passage, the paper all the ways in which Christ lived action words that the writer uses are strong out the word that they were given. When and really stand out: persuade, hope, boast, the groups have had time to complete urge and live. These are words that move their lists, bring students back to the larger the reader to action, but they are words that group and select one representative from do more than compel the listener forward. each group to share their answers. They also make us pause and consider our past — the life from which we have come.

Ask: 1. How does Christ’s life compel us to live into the future? 2. What happens if we don’t acknowledge the past, but live only into the future? 3. What are some of the others things that might have been compelling the people of Corinth? How would these fall by the wayside when compared to the life and love of Jesus? 4. What are some of the things that compel us today? How do they fall by the wayside compared to the life and love of Jesus? 5. How can partnering with other people, and with other churches enable us to do the work that Christ has compelled us to do?

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Reflect Begin:

Say:

Do:

Change the direction of the session by allowing students to get comfortable and quiet before leading the group in a prayer. When the group is ready, read or recite “A Prayer of Blessing for CBF Congregations” from the CBF 25th Anniversary resource kit and allow for a period of silence before continuing with the session.

“We are compelled to act because of the life and love of Jesus Christ. We focus our actions through worship, prayer and dialogue, but we still must act on behalf of Jesus Christ. We’re going to take the next little while and reflect on the ways that we can live for Christ in what Christ compels us to do. Turn your ‘CBF Party’ handout over and use the back side to brainstorm some of the ways in which Christ’s love compels you.”

As students brainstorm their responses to how Christ’s love compels them, place the poster that you created before the session at the front of the meeting space. Allow the students to complete their lists. When the students have finished their lists of ways Christ’s love compels them, say, “With the list that you have created, come to the front of the room and get several sticky notes and markers. Go back to your seats and transfer each item on the list onto a sticky note. When you have transferred your list onto sticky notes, bring the sticky notes back up to the front of the room and place them on the poster. Then return to your seat and share your responses through social media using the hashtag: #cbf25.”

CALL TO ACTION Conclude your time together by reading responses from several of the sticky notes that were placed on the poster. When you have read several responses, challenge the students to do at least one of the following in the next week: • Like, favorite, retweet, share, etc. the different responses you see on social media. • Find pictures or scenes of ways Christ compels you and spread them through social media with the hashtag: #cbf25. • Choose one of the things Christ compels you to do and do it in the next week. • Write a letter of “thank you” to someone who has helped you get where you are today on your spiritual journey.

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CELEBRATING

AT 25

Adult Bible Study


FI VE

EN TY TW

SINCE, THEN, WE KNOW WHAT IT IS TO FEAR THE LORD, WE TRY TO PERSUADE OTHERS. WHAT WE ARE IS PLAIN TO GOD, AND I HOPE IT IS ALSO PLAIN TO YOUR CONSCIENCE. WE ARE NOT TRYING TO COMMEND OURSELVES TO YOU AGAIN, BUT ARE GIVING YOU AN OPPORTUNITY

In 1991, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was formed by free and faithful Baptists who were compelled by the love of Christ to work together. Twenty-five years later, CBF is a Christian network comprised of individuals and churches that continue to work together to spread the love of Christ.

TO TAKE PRIDE IN US, SO THAT YOU CAN ANSWER THOSE WHO TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT IS SEEN RATHER THAN IN WHAT IS IN THE HEART. IF WE ARE “OUT OF OUR MIND,” AS SOME SAY, IT IS FOR GOD; IF WE ARE IN OUR RIGHT MIND, IT IS FOR YOU. FOR CHRIST’S

You and your congregation are invited to journey with us as we discover all of the ways that the love of Christ urges us on. What does the love of Christ compel you to do? Who does the love of Christ compel you to be? Who does the love of Christ compel your church to be?

LOVE COMPELS US, BECAUSE WE ARE CONVINCED THAT ONE DIED FOR ALL, AND THEREFORE ALL DIED. AND HE DIED FOR ALL, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE SHOULD NO LONGER LIVE FOR THEMSELVES BUT FOR

Through the example of what moves Hot Wheels cars in the children’s lesson, the question of why churches partner together posed in the youth lesson or the exploration of what it means to no longer live for ourselves in the adult lesson, these Bible studies encourage us to become more fully captivated by the love of Christ in everything we do.

HIM WHO DIED FOR THEM AND WAS RAISED

Each lesson includes engagement with the biblical text, questions for group discussion and a time of response and prayer. If you have time, read the Litany of Celebration together. To download the litany and to get information about special anniversary events and the fundraising campaign, visit www.cbf.net/cbf25. To learn more about the three areas that the 25th Anniversary highlights — sustaining global missions, forming healthy churches, nurturing young Baptists — watch our “Foundations to the Future” video series.

Editor

AGAIN. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-15

Aaron Weaver, CBF Communications Manager

Associate Editor Carrie McGuffin, CBF Communications Assistant Specialist

Graphic Designer Travis Peterson, CBF Graphic Design Specialist

Adult Bible Study Author Joshua Hearne, CBF Field Personnel, Danville, Va.

Children Bible Study Author Becky Caswell-Speight, Minister to Families with Children, Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Youth Bible Study Author Jeremy Colliver, Minister to Families with Youth, Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga.


CBF AT 25: ADULT BIBLE STUDY Ministry Focus: Celebrating 25 years of CBF 2 Corinthians 5:4-15

Introduction For some reason, the woman who handed me the keys to the moving truck I had just rented was decidedly more confident in my ability to navigate the West Virginia turnpike in a moving truck than I was.

were doing letting us rent this truck? Did we?

Like a skydiver with only a vague understanding of how parachutes work creeping toward open sky millimeter by After an unsettlingly brief and millimeter, we were increasingly aware of dispassionate tutorial on parking brakes, how much our lives were getting ready mirror positioning and fuel tanks, she left to change and just how dramatic that me to drive away as if she did this kind of change might be. Talking nervously about thing every day. Mostly because she did, I how excited we were, and conveniently guess. Jessica, my wife of nine days, and I failing to mention how scared we were, we were moving all the way to North Carolina started driving. Although it was an internal from Michigan by way of Kentucky to start combustion engine and 31 gallons of our first “real jobs” and for me to start unleaded gasoline that propelled us, it was divinity school. Did they know what they our love for each other and the love of our

families and friends that urged us onward to a new home and into a blessed and uncertain future. After 25 years as a Fellowship of often like-minded and consistently collaborative congregations and communities, it makes sense for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to reflect on where we’ve been and how we got here. Though the most persistent question has often been who we are and who we are not — both from within and without — perhaps another meaningful question is this: What urges us onward into the always uncertain and blessed future waiting for us?

Reading Together – 2 Corinthians 5:4-15 Before we arrive at the love-driven confidence of 2 Corinthians 5:14, we first hear Paul’s assurances to the Christian community of Corinth that there is a time coming when human frailty, and even mortality, will be put away by God and “swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4b). As a token of this promise, something we can recall to assure us of God’s faithfulness, God has “given us the Spirit” (5:5b). Upon the basis of this promise and the reassurance of the Spirit, Paul calls the Corinthians to confidence and compels them to act in ways that demonstrate this confidence. In this case, confidence is defined in opposition to the feelings of vulnerability that Paul and his audience are feeling. Paul builds this confidence not only upon the assurance given in verse 5, but also upon the conviction that “all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (5:10). However, verse 14 represents the crucial turn in Paul’s argument toward a different way of living in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus, not just with confidence but with vigorous pursuit of God’s Kingdom in our midst. The subject of our sentence in verse 14 is “the love of

Christ,” while Paul and his audience are merely the object upon which the love of Christ is acting. There is some debate as to whether or not “the love of Christ” should be taken to mean “Christ’s love for us” or “our love for Christ,” that the Greek sentence construction does not clarify. When Paul uses this phrase elsewhere, it seems more clearly to mean “Christ’s love for us,” so we can probably take that to be the intended meaning, as long as we remember that there is some ambiguity in the original language (Sampley, 92). Having established a subject and an object in our sentence, we should turn our attention to a tricky verb that is being translated “urges…on” in verse 14. It has connotations not only of control, containment and holding together, but also of compulsion and pressure (Arndt, 796). As such, it seems that Paul’s use of the word is less about “urging on” in the persuasive sense as it is in the motivating and driving sense. It might be equally as accurate to say that Christ’s love “compels” or “drives” us as to say it “urges us on” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Regardless, it is of little doubt that this love is a critical piece of Paul’s message, as he immediately and directly connects it to Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross for “all” (5:14). As Philip Hughes writes about Paul, “The great compelling motive force in [Paul’s] life since conversion is that of love; not, however, love originating, far less ending, in himself, but the love which originates and ends with God in Christ” (Hughes, 192). “Why do we continue on in the face of peril, death, persecution, loss and fear?” Paul seems to be asking his audience, “Because God’s love demonstrated in Jesus propels us and drives us ever onward.” This point is only further driven home by Paul’s insistence that “[Jesus] died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them” (2 Corinthians 5:15). What else can we call the force that teaches women and men to lay down their lives in service to the God who died for everyone, but love?

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Applying Together Within Paul’s insistence that love compels us onward in the same way of life and practice as Jesus is the core of the Gospel to which we cling as Christians: we might be made one with the one who died for all, and in doing so, we will be saved from death both in the future and also now. At the base of this conviction is the essential teaching that God is redeeming the world by love. In the words of Wendell Berry, “I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love.” Any time we hear the Gospel, we should be careful to remember that we must respond to it in some way, whether that is quietly and internally or boisterously and boldly. As a Fellowship that is finishing its first 25 years in sometimes noisy and sometimes

quiet collaboration, it is appropriate for us to turn our hearts again to what it is that propels us. Going forward, we must be compelled by love first and foremost in all our actions. Perhaps we can do that by cultivating places of beloved community, where all of God’s people are welcomed to the same table. For others, being compelled by love may mean finding both serene and audacious ways to bear witness to Jesus Christ by our words and deeds. Yet still, we may be compelled by love to seek the transformational development of our world, country, state, cities, neighborhoods, hollows, porches and selves, through the power of relationship and community building. Personally, even now we are still being called to live lives of confident faith in the God who compels us ever onward by love

and sacrifice to remake our own lives in the image of Jesus’ life. Accepting the call of Jesus through Paul is to give ourselves over to situations and places that may feel uncomfortable, and at times vulnerable, yet are places of grand and glorious transformation. If we truly believe that we are compelled to do so by the “love of Christ,” then we must search for and find the compelling and unconventional power of sacrificial love and holy risk that is demonstrated so beautifully by Jesus and his cross. May we find, as so many brothers and sisters have before us, that the power of the Church is hidden precisely in the vulnerable, dispossessed and forsaken places that comfort bids us not to go, and may the world marvel at a Fellowship full of people compelled by love to die that we might live.

Engaging Together To start a discussion about our passage of scripture, consider asking and answering some of the following questions with the members of your class: 1. What do you think Paul means in verse 15 when he writes, “so that those who live might live no longer for themselves?” What does it mean to live for yourself? For somebody else? In what ways can we make this a way of living, and not just something we do occasionally?

What about for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship? What about for all Christians? What would we do differently? What would be easier? more difficult? In addition to any discussion, consider drafting a list on a whiteboard, or other visible writing surface, titled “Compelled by love to love.”

Underneath the heading, take turns as a class filling the surface with types of people that God’s love might compel you to love 2. In what ways is feeling called to do or in response. Next, write some concrete and be something also like being compelled tangible ways you can love these people. or driven to do or be something? Feel free to discuss as a class precisely what In other words, how can we think of it means to love somebody, especially in the “love of Christ” being the thing the case of people whom we are sometimes that calls us to be the Church and help quick to “do for” instead of “doing with.” bring about the Kingdom of God? As the surface begins to fill up, take time 3. What would it look like for you to ask yourself and each other why we personally if you were driven more sometimes fail to love others, even though fully by the “love of Christ?” we are taught to do so. What about for the congregation?

Finally, it is certainly appropriate to take time to reflect individually and communally about the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and what it is being compelled by the love of Christ to do in upcoming months, years and decades. Having completed 25 years in fellowship one with another, we have an opportunity to consider once again what it means to “live no longer for [ourselves].” In addition to asking who we are and who we have been, let’s also ask what urges us onward into the future and what we are becoming because of what drives us ever onward.

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Resources Quotes

A collect for closing

“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing — that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.” –FRED ROGERS

God, whose very breath gives life to us all,

“Anyone who appeals to faith and freedom in Christ to do less, be less, give less, serve less and love less than our forebears has grossly misunderstood Jesus’ message.” –FRED CRADDOCK “This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good. For nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors.” –JOHN CHRYSOSTOM “Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer.” –DOROTHY DAY “You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.” –AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO “While God waits for his temple to be built of love, men bring stones.” –RABINDRANATH TAGORE “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.” –THOMAS MERTON

You took death upon your shoulders so that all might live and follow after you on the death marked way of love, help us to live lives of love and mercy that will point to you with every breath. We ask these things in your name, with the breath have you given us. Amen.

A litany for closing God who created us from dust and your breath, to be people in relationship with you, give us the words to say and the silences to keep, for the love of Christ urges us on. God who called Abram from comfort and home to seek out a land and a promise, show us how to follow you — wherever you might lead, for the love of Christ urges us on. God who led your people out of slavery in Egypt to keep your promise and set your children free, help us to set others free and show your love by way of liberation, for the love of Christ urges us on. God who spoke softly to Elijah and the magi alike, to call both the near and the far to do your will, fill our thoughts with your whispering call, for the love of Christ urges us on. God who became flesh like one of us, to live and die like any of us, give us joyful hearts and mouths full of praise, for the love of Christ urges us on. God who was raised from the dead, and still calls us all to die if we would live, give us courage in the face of struggle and suffering, for the love of Christ urges us on. God who called sinners like each of us, to be a part of the Church and the Kingdom of God, show us where you’re already working so that we might join you, for the love of Christ urges us on.

Bibliography William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A GreekEnglish Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (London: The University of Chicago Press, 1957), 796.

Philip E. Hughes, “Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians,” The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. F.F. Bruce (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), 192-193.

J. Paul Sampley, “2 Corinthians,” The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 11, ed. Leander E. Keck et al. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 91-92.

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CBF 25th Anniversary Bible Studies