Haystack Study III. God’s Call: Resistance
III. God’s Call: Resistance
Supplies: Bibles, newsprint pad, and markers.
This session will help us consider the moments when God’s people say “No” to a Holy Calling. From the time we were children we have discovered the power of No! Do your homework! Eat your dinner! Clean your room! Stop teasing your sister! etc. Saying no is part of being human. The people of the Bible were human like us. They too exercised their desire for one thing over another. Saying “No” to God is an option.
We begin with a Biblical “No.” Read the story of Jonah from the Bible (Chapter 1). (10 minutes)
Break into triads to reflect upon these questions: (Post questions on the newsprint.)
What made Jonah say “No” to God, and what was his action as a result of his “No”?
How have you said “No” to God?
In what ways do faith communities say “No” to God’s call? (20 minutes)
Reconvene the group. Invite their responses to these questions. (15 minutes)
The young men, at the Haystack Prayer Meeting in 1806, heard God call. All but one of them expressed enthusiasm for going overseas to bring Christ to the world. One of those present, Byram Green, tells what happened next:
(Harvey) Loomis contended “. . . .it was premature; and that if missionaries should be sent to Asia they would be murdered; that Christian armies must subdue the country before the Gospel could be sent . . .”
Loomis followed his beliefs and after graduating from Williams College in 1809 he was chosen as the first minister to the newly formed First Congregational Church in Bangor, ME (today All Souls Congregational). He died in the pulpit on January 2, 1825 at the age of 39 years, following severe exertion climbing State Street hill on his way to church during a heavy snowstorm. (10 minutes)
Return to the triads. Ask the participants to consider:
How does fear keep us and our churches from answering God’s call?
How do we overcome such fear?
How might our lives be different if we did not resist God’s call? (20 minutes)
Close the group time with a prayer for the courage to face our fears and answer God’s call.