“Daily,” she said. “I’ve never seen that word in this text before. I always read it, ‘Take up your cross and follow me.’ I like it. It reassures me. Every day I am to pick up the cross. It’s easier to think about it in daily increments.”
She was one of twelve sitting in our Tuesday evening small group. It’s a mishmash of people: a couple of escapees from a large, local evangelical church; some young adults who fled the internal sickness of their home church, and an assortment of other almost middle-aged adults with little previous exposure to God or the Bible.
Her voice cracked when she talked about it. “Daily. I’ve never seen that word before.” She’s so typical of folks in our group – genuinely affected by the Bible. They read it with curiosity and hunger. One of the “escapees” says repeatedly that she loves the group and always learns something when she comes.
Next Sunday’s sermon is the second in a series called “The Bible Is A Dangerous Book.” We’ll be talking about how the Bible changes you when you read it with curiosity. And our small group proves it. A man in the group talks about the way his fellow employees, crass and vulgar, used to affect him. “But now I don’t let them.” He is probably surprised by the changes that are taking place in his life.
Prayer time is especially touching. Another woman in the group used to sit silently during the prayer. She had never prayed much before, especially with others present, but now she joins in. Last night she wept as she prayed for a little 10-year-old boy in our church whose mom died this week. It’s not unusual to hear sobs during our prayers.
This morning I was thinking about how much change occurs in our small group: change of understanding, change of life, and change of relationships. It seems to be deeper and faster in our small group than in other church contexts. I’ve noticed it in the Facebook threads that pop up frequently asking group members for prayer and advice.
“Daily,” she said. Our small group makes “daily” real in the way it talks about the intersection of life with Jesus and his call to follow him.