Main Article
Response Articles
Bordering Mysteries
Mindy McGarrah Sharp
Author's Response
Rejoinder
Ernst Conradie
Resources
Lesson Plans
Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Editor's Notes
Editor's Introduction
Mark Douglas

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan One

Concept: In Ernst Conradie’s essay “The Gospel: Just for Sinners or Just for the Sinned Against?” Conradie discusses a multitude of interpretations of what constitutes “sin,” as well as the responsibility, guilt, and accountability associated with these differing notions of sin. This lesson will engage Conradie’s essay by allowing participants to consider their own conceptions of what sin is and what complications and implications their definition of sin may bring with it. The activities in the lesson serve to help participants apply Conradie’s questions about sin to their own views in a way that encourages discussion and self-reflection.

Setting: This lesson is prepared for a 45-minute adult Sunday school class.

Objectives: Participants will…
• Consider for themselves and question what constitutes “sin”
• Discuss why it is/is not difficult to define “sin” in different circumstances
• Write a working definition of sin with group members
• Present their definition and discuss highlights and limitations

Materials: List of questions for “Is it a Sin?” activity (one copy- provided), poster board or poster-size piece of paper for each group, scratch paper and pens, markers.

Preparation: This lesson plan assumes that all participants will have already read Ernst Conradie’s essay as background for the discussion. Tables should be arranged to accommodate small group and class discussion.

Sequence of Lesson:

Opening: (Time required: 3 minutes, Materials: Prayer) As participants arrive, welcome them and invite them to find a place at the table/s. Begin with prayer.

Prayer: The facilitator may provide their own prayer or use this except from Psalm 32 as an opening prayer.

Psalm 32: 1-7
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore, let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.


Activity One: Time required: 12 minutes, Materials: List of questions for “Is it a Sin?” activity (provided below)

Presenting: The facilitator will introduce this activity by calling attention to Conradie’s discussion of the many different notions of what defines sin. Is it corporate? Individual? Is sin universal or are there clear victims and oppressors? Are some sins worse than others? Are sins only against humans or do they include harm against the environment? What about mere negative thinking? Encourage participants to consider these questions as they participate in the following activity.

Exploring: The facilitator will read aloud a list of questions and ask participants to consider whether or not the circumstance in question is a sin. If participants are sure that they would consider something a sin, ask them to stand, if they do not think what is listed is a sin they should remain seated (if any participants find sitting and standing difficult an alternative is to have participants raise and lower their hands). As different questions from the list are read encourage participants to take notice of which things they are hesitant to name as sin, and why they believe this to be so. Feel free to add additional items to the list provided below.

Questions for “Is it a Sin?” activity:

1. Is lying a sin? 2. Is lying to protect yourself from harm a sin? 3. Is lying to protect someone else from harm a sin? 4. Is stealing a sin? 5. Is stealing a sin if you cannot afford to feed yourself or your family and you steal in order to do so? 6. Is it a sin to sell illegal drugs? 7. Is it a sin to sell illegal drugs if it helps support your family? 8. Is racism a sin? 9. Is it a sin to subconsciously judge someone based on their race, even if you don’t realize you’re doing it? 10. Is it a sin not to recycle? 11. Is it a sin to drive an old car that emits harmful fumes into the environment? 12. Is it a sin to drive an old car that emits harmful fumes if you cannot afford to get a new eco-friendly car? 13. Is it a sin to abuse alcohol? 14. Is it a sin to abuse alcohol if you are addicted and feel as though you have little control over this addiction? 15. Is speeding a sin? 16. Is driving recklessly a sin? 17. Is driving recklessly a sin if you get into an accident and someone gets hurt? 18. Is it a sin to purchase products created by slave labor? 19. Is it a sin to purchase products created by slave labor if you don’t know where they came from? 20. Is being harmful to others’ bodies a sin? 21. Is being harmful to your own body a sin? 22. Is overeating a sin? 23. Is murder a sin? 24. Is killing someone out of self-defense a sin? 25. Is killing someone in war a sin?

Responding: After finishing with the list, invite volunteers to offer any thoughts they have on which items were difficult to claim as sin. Why do they believe this to be so? Did anything on the list make them feel uncomfortable? Were they surprised by any of the groups’ responses?

Activity Two: (Time required: 25 minutes, Materials: poster board/paper, scratch paper, pens, markers)

Exploring: If they are not already divided into smaller groups, ask the class to divide themselves into groups of 3-4 people (groups can be smaller or larger depending on class size). Give each group scratch paper as well as one large poster-sized piece of paper, pens and markers. Invite each group to create a working definition of sin. Remind them of some of the questions discussed before the first activity (Is sin corporate or individual? Universal or individual? Who is responsible? What constitutes sin?), and invite them to see if, as a group, they can come up with a working definition that incorporates each person’s views. Give the group 10 minutes to brainstorm, discuss, and then write their definition on the large piece of paper.

Presenting/Responding: After each group has finished invite a representative from each group to read their definition to the rest of the class, and allow other groups to ask questions. Was there anything in particular they wanted to highlight in their definition? Is there anything their definition leaves out? Was it difficult to define their own conceptions of sin? Did everyone in the group agree? Leave space for discussion and questions after each group’s presentation of their definition.

Closing: (Time required: 5 minutes, Materials: prayer)

Close the discussion with the following thoughts from Conradie’s discussion: Martin Luther believed that we are all simultaneously sinners and saints.
• Does this concept help one to wrestle with the ambiguity of sin or further complicate it?
• What about grace and salvation?
• Are we able to realize our sin because we already know and are assured of God’s grace and forgiveness?
• How should this inspire us to work against the powers of sin?

These questions do not need to be answered, but should be left for the group to ponder as they prepare for next week’s lesson.
Close in prayer. The facilitator may use their own prayer or the following one provided.

Prayer: All-knowing and all-loving God, even in our darkest moments you love us still. Help us to continue to wrestle with and question the ambiguities of what it means to be both your beloved children and imperfect, sinful humans, that we may better know you and better love one another and ourselves. Amen.

Lesson Plan Two

Concept: In Ernst Conradie’s essay “The Gospel: Just for Sinners or Just for the Sinned Against?” Conradie questions whether or not the concept of sin as universal is helpful when there are clear cases of perpetrators and victims. In Brian Powers’ response essay, Powers asserts that the concept of universal sin is indeed necessary for naming individual perpetrators and victims while at the same time acknowledging systematic injustice. In this lesson participants will explore Powers’ response in order to ponder the complicated nature of sin.

Setting: This lesson is prepared for a 45-minute adult Sunday school class.

Objectives: Participants will…
• Continue thinking about how they perceive and witness sin in the world
• Present an example of what they see as “sin” experienced in the world
• Read an excerpt from Powers’ essay and apply his example to other situations
• Consider how their own perceptions of sin affect how they engage the world

Materials: A variety of newspapers or newspaper clippings ranging from local, national, to international news (an alternative is to print off a variety of news stories from online news sources). Whiteboard or chalkboard. Printed excerpt from Powers’ essay (one copy- provided).

Preparation: This lesson plan assumes that all participants will have already read Ernst Conradie’s essay as well as Brian Powers’ response essay as background for the discussion. Tables should be arranged to accommodate small group and class discussion. Before the class begins, on the table/s spread out randomly various newspapers containing anything from local to international news.

Sequence of Lesson:

Opening: (Time required: 3 minutes, Materials: Prayer) As participants arrive, welcome them and invite them to find a place at the table/s. Begin with prayer.
Prayer: The facilitator may provide their own prayer or use this except from Psalm 19 as an opening prayer.
Psalm 19: 7-14

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear; enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Activity One: Time required: 25 minutes, Materials: newspapers or newspaper clippings, whiteboard or chalkboard

Exploring: To begin, ask participants in groups of 3-4 to look through the newspaper articles available and find something that for them, speaks to the presence of sin in the world (depending on class size this activity can be done in groups or individually). Invite participants to think creatively about what they choose and why it matters to them (anything is okay- even the weather forecast can point to climate change and harm to the environment). Before they choose their article ask each group to consider the following:
• In the situation they choose who are the victims and who are the perpetrators?
• Is it clear who is responsible?
• Is responsibility or guilt shared?
• Are there any underlying factors that complicate the situation?
• Do they feel comfortable clearly assigning guilt in this situation or is it vague?

Write these questions on the whiteboard while groups find their article. Give them about 10 minutes to find their article and think and talk amongst themselves about why they chose it.

Presenting/Responding: After everyone has chosen their article invite a representative from each group to present their choice and explain why their group decided it served as an example of the pervasive nature of sin in the world. Invite other groups to ask questions and encourage discussion. Were there any examples that made the group feel uncomfortable? Did any examples “hit close to home”?
Activity Two: Time required: 15 minutes, Materials: excerpt from Powers’ essay (provided)

Presenting: Read the excerpt from Powers’ essay (provided below), highlighting Powers’ concrete example of the slaveowner who is both individually responsible, yet also influenced by their culture and history.

Excerpt from Powers’ Essay:

“Though our wills are bound in distorted desires or patterns, Augustine does not view this as an “excuse” for bad behavior, or particular instances of sin. We are individually responsible for our actions, and thus for the harm they do. Yet it does mean that we are not exhaustively responsible for them, as they are never committed in a hermetically sealed environment, but always influenced by our personal histories, cultural values, and societal pressures. Indeed, Augustine bristled at the idea that we bore absolute blame for our actions, arguing that we were indeed responsible for them, but that they could not be understood apart from the distorted world in which we live and the ways in which the myriad forces condition and narrow our field of choices at critical moments. These conditioning forces are often pathogenic and need to be named as such. For example, a slaveowner in the antebellum American south was indeed personally responsible for reprehensible and monstrous behavior. Yet that slaveowner did not exist in a world with undefined roles and boundaries and suddenly decide to enslave and degrade others. He was influenced deeply by the local history, cultural accretions and values that were distorted by the pathogenic force of slavery itself. It is critical for a nuanced understanding of guilt and responsibility that this force must be named as such alongside particular deeds and acts in order that it can be resisted.”

Responding: After listening to Powers’ excerpt, ask each group to look back at the news article example they chose in the preceding activity. With Powers’ example in mind, invite each group to discuss amongst themselves examples of both individual responsibility as well as the greater “conditioning forces” that may be at work in the example they chose. Give groups about 5 minutes to discuss amongst themselves. After, invite each group to share with the class what they discussed, and invite open conversation about the complicating factors of each situation.

Closing: Time required: 2 minutes, Materials: prayer

Close the discussion with the following quote from Conradie’s essay: “Talking about the proportionality of guilt may easily become spiritually empty. If there is room for retrieving the universality of sin, it has to focus on the pervasive and over-powering reality of systems of economic injustice, ongoing conflict and ecological destruction that all forms of life are trapped in. This is best regarded as the shadow side of an emerging ecumenical vision for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. It is only possible to detect the radical pervasiveness of sin on the basis of the equally radical transformation needed to overcome this bondage to sin. This ability to see—and to discern—the coming reign of God is best attributed to God’s work, not ours.” Leave participants with the following questions
• How in the midst of sin can we be faithful participants in the work of God’s coming kingdom?
• Is the Gospel message then a message for sinners and the sinned against?

These questions do not need to be answered, but should be left for the group to ponder as they prepare for next week’s lesson.
Close in prayer. The facilitator may use their own prayer or the following one provided.

Prayer: God of reconciling love, we ask that as we leave from this place you will be present with each of us. Help us to be more fully aware of the sin within our midst and the ways in which we participate in it, that we may be guided by you to overcome the sins that bind us and instead be bound to you. May we find hope in the greatness of your love that surpasses all sin, and invites us to participate in the work of your coming kingdom. Amen.

Lesson Plan Three

Concept: In Ernst Conradie’s essay “The Gospel: Just for Sinners or Just for the Sinned Against?” Conradie considers the many implications of trying to understand or define the complex nature of sin. In Christine Hong’s response essay, Hong approaches her understanding of sin through the lens of experience. In this lesson participants will explore Hong’s example of how scripture has been used to perpetuate harmful interpretations of sin and suffering, and consider the importance of questioning and wrestling with potentially harmful understandings of scripture.

Setting: This lesson is prepared for a 45-minute adult Sunday school class.

Objectives: Participants will…
• Consider their first conceptions of sin and discuss potential harmful/painful theologies of sin to which they have been exposed.
• Read a passage from scripture used in Hong’s essay and discuss the passage in relation to her argument.
• Consider alternative interpretations of the scripture passage and discuss the implications of harmful/painful theologies of sin.
Materials Needed: Scratch paper and pens/pencils. Whiteboard or chalkboard. Bibles. Printed excerpt from Hong’s essay (one copy- provided).

Preparation: This lesson plan assumes that all participants will have already read Ernst Conradie’s essay as well as Christine Hong’s response essay as background for the discussion. Tables should be arranged to accommodate small group and class discussion.

Sequence of Lesson:

Opening: Time required: 3 minutes, Materials: Prayer

As participants arrive, welcome them and invite them to find a place at the table/s. Begin with prayer.
Prayer: The facilitator may provide their own prayer or use this except from Psalm 38 as an opening prayer.
Psalm 38: 9, 17-22
O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. Those who are my foes without cause are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. Those who render me evil for good are my adversaries because I follow after good. Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me; make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.

Activity One: Time required: 20 minutes, Materials: Bibles, excerpt from Hong’s essay (one copy- provided below), whiteboard/chalkboard, scratch paper and pens/pencils

Presenting: Read the excerpt from Hong’s essay.

Excerpt from Hong’s Essay:
“Theologies of sin and sinfulness have been weaponized, used against people to diminish and erase them. For instance, when scriptures like Mark 2:1-12, the healing of the paralytic, are exegeted and taught in church as if sin was the cause of the man’s paralysis, it teaches that disabilities define us and connect to sinfulness and uncleanliness, necessitating forgiveness in order to be a “whole” person. This type of teaching about sin as the nexus of otherness causes pain. It denies the reality that people with disabilities are already whole people! It also reveals the real sin, the sin of operating from ableist perspectives and constructs, in the ways we try and understand scripture and Jesus and leads to the shaming and shunning of our kindred.”

Exploring: Next, have participants divide into pairs or small groups and read the Mark 2:1-12 passage together. Ask participants to read the pericope with Hong’s observations in mind. While participants are reading together write the following questions/topics on the whiteboard:
• Discuss the harmful implications to which Hong refers in this passage.
• Have you ever been exposed to this interpretation of the story?
• Can you think of other examples from scripture that have supported this harmful line of thinking?
• Have you ever found yourself wanting to interpret sin and punishment in this way?
• What are some alternative ways of interpreting the message within this passage?

After participants have finished reading have them answer the preceding questions together. They can take notes if it is helpful to them.

Responding: After a few minutes go through the questions/topics on the whiteboard and ask participants from each pair or group to share with the class highlights from their discussion.

Activity Two: Time required: 20 minutes, Materials: scratch paper and pens or pencils, whiteboard or chalkboard

Exploring: Erase the previous questions and write the following questions on the whiteboard/chalkboard:
• What was your first conception of “sin”?
• Where did you first learn/hear about sin? At church? At school? Somewhere else?
• Who first taught you what sin was? A teacher? Parent? Friend? Pastor?
• How has your conception of sin changed since you were a child/ you first learned about sin?
• Was there anything potentially harmful or painful about the way you were first taught about sin?
• What changed your ideas or beliefs about sin?

Invite participants to consider these questions and take note of their responses on the scratch paper provided. Give participants about 5-7 minutes to think and write. After, invite participants to discuss their answers in pairs or small groups.

Responding: After another 5 minutes of paired or small group discussion, invite the groups to share with the class some of the general conclusions they drew from their conversations. Were any of their answers similar? Was learning a harmful or painful theology of sin a common or shared experience? Had most peoples’ conceptions of sin changed over time? How does Hong’s essay response offer further insight into the complex and often painful nature of sin? How do our own conceptions of sin have the potential to alienate and harm others? Allow time for discussion.

Closing: Time required: 3 minutes, Materials: prayer

Close the discussion with the following quote from Hong’s essay: “The whole of the Gospel is a living breathing text that speaks to us differently in particular moments in our lives when we find ourselves having harmed another or when we find ourselves having experienced harm.”
• How then as Christians can we use the Gospel not as a weapon to support our own views on sin, but as a life-giving tool that is indeed a message for both the “sinned and sinned against?”
• How do we talk about, think about, and teach about sin without causing one another further harm?

These questions do not need to be answered, but should be left for the group to ponder as they prepare for next week’s lesson.
Close in prayer. The facilitator may use their own prayer or the following one provided.

Prayer: God of unending forgiveness, help us to have grace for ourselves and one another. Help us to remember that our scripture is a gift to be used for your glory and never for our own ends. Guide us that we may show love to one another and ourselves in ways that reflect how you see us: as your wholly beloved children. Amen.

Lesson Plan Four

Concept: In Ernst Conradie’s essay “The Gospel: Just for Sinners or Just for the Sinned Against?” Conradie offers a systematic approach to wrestling with the many interpretations of sin and their various implications. In Mindy McGarrah Sharp’s response essay, Sharp invites her readers to think about the doctrines of sin, suffering, and salvation through a practical lens, and asserts that such doctrines must always be held accountable to real human interaction and encounter. In this lesson participants will explore Sharp’s real-life example of a human encounter shaped by sin, suffering, and salvation, and question how their engagement with this series of essays has shaped their own perceptions of sin and salvation.

Setting: This lesson is prepared for a 45-minute adult Sunday school class.

Objectives: Participants will…
• Re-read a story from Dr. Sharp’s essay and discuss the implications of the encounter she describes.
• Re-consider their associations with the doctrines of “sin” and “salvation.”
• Read a portion of Psalm 51 and discuss their conceptions of “God’s salvation.”
• Ponder and share their own working definitions of salvation.
• Consider how doctrines of “sin, suffering, and salvation” can be held accountable to real human encounters.

Materials Needed: Scratch paper and pens/pencils. Bibles. Whiteboard or chalkboard. Excerpt from Sharp’s essay (provided- print enough copies for class to read individually)

Preparation: This lesson plan assumes that all participants will have already read Ernst Conradie’s essay as well as Mindy McGarrah Sharp’s response essay as background for the discussion. Tables should be arranged to accommodate small group and class discussion.

Sequence of Lesson:

Opening: (Time required: 3 minutes, Materials: Prayer) As participants arrive, welcome them and invite them to find a place at the table/s. Begin with prayer:
Prayer: The facilitator may provide their own prayer or use this except from Psalm 51 as an opening prayer.
Psalm 51: 1-4, 12-13
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgement. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Activity One: Time required: 20 minutes, Materials: printed copies of the excerpt from Sharp’s essay (one for each participant- provided below)

Presenting: Have volunteers take turns reading aloud the excerpt from Sharp’s response essay. Because the excerpt is long, ask for more than one reader and provide a copy for everyone to read along.

Excerpt from Sharp’s Essay:
“A group of students and I traveled around Southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. Our purpose was to wrestle with our theological commitments in conversation with people who live in these present-day borderlands. We sought encounters with as many life experiences and opinions as possible. We traveled as readers of living texts; our task was to listen well. In five years of leading this trip, everyone encountered from the most progressive to the most conservative agrees that present-day immigration policies are not working. It’s what to do instead where students and I have heard such a wide difference of opinion. The most difficult person to encounter is the active migrant, the very person so prominent in the national discourse, the person walking across the US-Mexico border. Except for once.

While driving in a large white van, we came across a man walking alongside the road, covered in thorns. We stopped the van. This stranger was out of food and water, walking in the desert. It was illegal for us to provide a map or a ride. We could easily reach out and place our hands in pierced flesh just shy of death. “Which way to Phoenix?” he asked. Someone nodded 100 miles that way. One student gave her own backpack. We pooled food and water. “If you get thirsty again,” someone else said, “sit roadside and border patrol will come. You will be deported, but you will live.” We wanted to believe in life. We got back in the van. He disappeared in the landscape. We drove away. We went to dinner. We remembered him while we drank fresh, clean water. We witnessed thirst. 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you? (Matthew 25). What just happened? Where was suffering and salvation? Which is which, the just sinned and the just sinned against?

When my students and I encountered a thirsty migrant neighbor covered with thorns, immigration ceased to be an issue and suddenly resided in an interaction among human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Moral conflicts of law and Gospel were alive before us and had to be negotiated quickly, given the various circumstances at hand. For a moment, borders that prevent interpersonal encounter dissolved and we had an opportunity to confront our responsibility as persons committed to learning, listening, and living together a life of faith. Encounters across human-made borders open tiny glimpses into the haunting and beautiful mysteries of life together that reveal moving intersections and to which theologies of sin, suffering, and salvation, need to be accountable.”

Responding: After reading together, invite group discussion by asking the following questions:
• What feelings does this story stir up for you?
• Is there anything about it that makes you uncomfortable?
• “Where was suffering and salvation” in this situation?
• What “moral conflicts of law and Gospel” had to be negotiated in this situation?
• Can anyone think of time in their life when they have had to navigate moral conflicts like this? What did you do?
• Who is the sinner and who is the sinned against in such conflicts?

Allow time for discussion.

Activity Two: Time required: 20 minutes, Materials: whiteboard/chalkboard, scratch pens and paper, Bibles
Exploring: Begin by writing the word “sin” on the whiteboard. Remind participants that throughout this series of essays, they’ve been given the opportunity to think a lot about sin. Ask them now what words, phrases, or ideas come to mind when they hear this word. As participants call out their answers write them on the board near the word sin (try clustering the words and phrases around the word randomly, instead of making a list). Next, in some free space on the board write the word “salvation” and invite participants to again call out words, phrases, or ideas that come to mind when they think of this word. Again, write their responses on the whiteboard. Leave these words on the board as you transition to the next activity.
Exploring Part 2: Next, invite students to take a Bible and turn to Psalm 51 (used as the opening prayer for this day). In pairs or small groups have students read Psalm 51:1-14 together. In this psalm, the psalmist asks God to “restore to me the joy of your salvation.” Ask the groups to consider what this means for them. After they have finished reading, invite participants to brainstorm about what is their definition of “salvation.” They can use scratch paper to take notes and discuss in their pairs or small groups. Advise them that for this activity, they do not need to come to a consensus in their group on a shared definition of salvation, but should discuss what their individual definitions might look like.

Responding: After giving participants time for this discussion, invite any groups who are willing to share thoughts from their discussion about salvation with the class.

Closing: Time required: 2 minutes, Materials: prayer

Close the discussion with the following quote from Sharp’s essay: “Encounters across human-made borders open tiny glimpses into the haunting and beautiful mysteries of life together that reveal moving intersections and to which theologies of sin, suffering, and salvation, need to be accountable.”
• How can theologies of sin, suffering, and salvation remain accountable to the complicated intersections of human encounters?
• How can the church participate in such encounters faithfully?
• How as Christians are we invited to be participants in God’s work of salvation from sin?

These questions do not need to be answered. Ask participants to continue wrestling with these and other such questions and to continue the discussion in and outside of the classroom and church.
Close in prayer. The facilitator may use their own prayer or the following one provided.

Prayer: God, deliver us from sin. Restore to us the joy of your salvation, and as we go from this place prepare us for opportunities to encounter you in the world. Amen.
 

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