Bothered & Bewildered: Stuck in a playpen?

The book Bothered & Bewildered by Ann Morisy“Bothered and Bewildered” — that’s the sermon series for Lent this year (2014) at FUMC. The idea for this theme came from the writings of Ann Morisy. That is one of her books over on the left: Bothered & Bewildered: Enacting Hope in Troubled Times.

Ann guest-lectured this past weekend in Ann Arbor. In one of her three talks, Ann spoke about bringing hope to those who are troubled and anxious — to those in a bothered and bewildered state.

Ah, that would be me.

I’ll admit – I’m often dazed and downright dizzy, and in the in midst of an overloaded life, I’m wondering, who me? A child of God? And why am I here?

What about you? Ever feel that way?

I’m thinking that a generous dose of uncertainty also applies to our current Rotation on the events of Holy Week. Some of the characters in our story were definitely a bit baffled.

  • Why did Jesus overturn the tables in the Temple? (Matthew 21:12-13).
  • What was Jesus talking about – “the Son of Man will be handed over…” (Matt 26:2).
  • And what brought Judas to snitch on his teacher?! (Matt 26:14-16).

Yes, I’d say that the portion of our story covered in this week’s mini reading plan (below), includes people who are troubled and anxious.

Can we relate?

To continue a previously started trend, let’s explore the concept of people bothered and bewildered during that first Holy Week. People, not unlike us, who (to borrow another Ann Morisy viewpoint) fear stepping outside of the playpen.

a child chews on the edge of a playpen

Do playpens even get used any more?

Those places where we placed a small child to keep them out of harms way while we were otherwise occupied? Keep the thought of a playpen — a safe place — in mind as you use this mini reading plan with discussion questions around the family dinner table. Or wherever your family (or your friends!) gather together. Use the chart below to read and talk about this particular portion of our story… in stages… over the coming weeks. Or print it out.

(Check out the start of the mini reading plans here.)

Read Talk about or do…
A bit of a review: Why is the crowd all worked up; who is coming into town?
Why were they shouting words of praise – Hosanna!?
What sort of king did they expect Jesus would be? What hint should they have taken from Jesus’ choice of a mode of transportation?
How do you suppose the sight of this parade makes the people think: perhaps it would be safe to leave our playpens?
Why do you suppose Jesus turned things upside down in the Temple?
Imagine you were a money-changer in the Temple; what would you have thought? Imagine that you are someone who needed to buy a dove to offer as a sacrifice in the Temple. How do you feel being turned away? (Sorry there are no doves; that man let them all loose when he was overturning tables.)
What about this event bothers you? What questions do you have? If you were there would you feel like you were in need of a playpen of safety and security, or a playpen full of challenges? What do you suppose Jesus is trying to tell us about prayer and worship?
Why do you suppose the chief priests and the teachers of the law were so upset about kids making noise in the Temple? This is just one example of how they seemed to always butt heads with Jesus. Jesus came to earth to help put the world right again, but he used ways that were different than what people expected. What way do you suppose a “take-charge” type of king would have used in this instance to right the unfair practices at the Temple?
A review: What did the festival of Passover celebrate? (Hint: look at Exodus 12:1-14.) What does the word “crucified” mean? (killed on a cross) Why did Jesus allow himself to be killed (he could have run away)? (It’s okay if you don’t have a definitive answer to this question. Discuss it anyway!)
What festival were the religious leaders talking about? (Hint: look in verse 2.) What sort of playpen were they setting up for themselves to avoid a backlash of protest from “the people”? Why do you suppose they were worried about what others thought?
Which disciple tattled on Jesus? (Judas Iscariot)
What was the bad plan that Judas made? Have you ever made a “bad plan”? What happened? Was forgiveness necessary? Do you suppose that Jesus forgave Judas?
What sort of playpen would you retreat to if you made a really bad plan? Or would you think to choose to run to Jesus instead?

Are you ready to continue with the next in our series of mini-reading/discussion plans?


Photo credits:
Youngster in a playpen by Ross Belmont, licensed under Creative Commons BY NC-SA 2.0

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