Luke 7:11-15 NIV

“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

Jesus brings restoration to a widow who had lost her only son. He saw her tragedy; he noticed what could have been unseen. People live and die every day and what happened to the widow is devastating but not uncommon. But what did Jesus do for her? Jesus enters into her story and brings restoration. 

Jesus restores the son to his mother. He restores her emotional and economic security.  He was her only child, and without a husband or a social security network, she would have been quite destitute. Jesus notices, he intervenes, he restores.

That’s our role in this pandemic and beyond, to notice what’s been overlooked. We must pay attention to what has been discarded and is being taken out of our neighbourhoods. This is our role church - to be part of God’s redemptive story. When others experience loss how can we be there to support them and to represent Jesus?

Discussion Questions
1. What losses have you / your family experienced during the COVID pandemic?
2. What losses have you noticed in your community (local, church, state, national)?
3. Marg focused on the EAT part of the BLESS spiritual rhythm, emphasising our need to come to God’s banqueting table (grazing platter) prepared for us. What do these Scriptures reveal / symbolise about God’s focus on spiritual sustenance and eating together?
Psalm 23:5, Psalm 78:24, John 7:37. What other scriptures can be added around this theme?
4. What did the dinner set analogy in the Community Impact message symbolise? How does God speak to you (Scripture, Prayer, Nature – beach, bush, Journaling, Creative spaces – painting, crafting, building; solitude, people etc.)?
5. Marg enjoyed afternoon tea with her neighbour during RUOK week whilst still respecting social distancing requirements, and their neighbours shared meals via ‘doorstop drops’.  How can we implement the BLESS steps of EAT and SERVE during lockdown?

Have you seen innovative ways of supportive others during this difficult season? Have you developed systems and ideas yourself? (E.g. Zoom family quiz nights, watching a movie together with friends online, sending pamper packs to those who are struggling, doorstop meal drops, etc.)

6. Jesus enters the widow’s story. He stopped, He noticed, He restored. This is the church’s role, and our personal role, in bringing God’s redemptive story to the world. How can we participate with God in this, in our local and church community?  
Kids Hope, Australia’s largest early intervention mentoring program, featured as part of Community Impact week, as a ministry bringing hope into the lives of vulnerable children. How do they do this? 
Each CityLife campus has a Kids Hope partnership with a local school. For more information you can contact the program coordinator from each campus:
KnoxSue Horwood and Christine Leong
Casey David Kolle
ManninghamDeepak Bhatia
WhittleseaLavinia De Petro

Here's a great story of the power of Kids Hope mentoring, of restoration and community impact.

7. What other activities are part of CityLife Community Care that empower people to thrive? Identify several support systems Community Care offers. For more information HERE.

What ways can and do you personally serve your community for greater impact, and to bring the restorative power of the Gospel?

Closing Comment
In her message Marg mentioned the support of Life Group  during a challenging season. We give thanks for you all and the work you do in praying for and serving our church and community. May your seeds continue to produce a harvest.

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We recognise the sovereignty and Lordship of the one true God, revealed through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we work and live, the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.