After spending a couple of weeks leading my wonderful group of ladies on a study heavy in the Word, a set of circumstances arose and I needed to focus on my family, rather than the study for a few weeks. The lovely Emily totally stepped up and loved me greatly through her willingness to take over both hosting and leading while I was in crisis mode. Through this time, we really bonded as a group, and have developed a true community of 20-something women. If you are leading a small group, living in a community house, living with your family, or just really want to deepen the relationships and level of community with those around you, the idea of Roses, Buds, and Thorns, is a resource I want to share with you! (I did of course, write most of this post before my wedding… Your patience with me as I try to catch up on Bible study posts is greatly appreciated!)
The idea is that each member of the group with share a rose, bud, and thorn. You can do this in any order (we like ending with roses, but it doesn’t always work out that way). Either everyone can share their rose, then everyone share their bud etc. or each individual shares all three at once. Often the second option works better, as the stories of each can intertwine. This is my version of it (based on what Emily has taught us) designed as a weekly reflection for small groups, but there are resources all over the internet on family sites, leadership sites, and coaching sites depending on what you’re looking for!
Your rose is a highlight, an answer to prayer, a happy moment, a Jesus win, or whatever else was life giving to you during the previous week. When we share these, we are able to celebrate together, and be encouraged by the blessings and testimony of those around us. We are living in the Word when we do this, reflective of the many festivals described in the Pentateuch. God asked his people to reflect on and celebrate his faithfulness regularly, and it helped build their identity as a nation. By celebrating together, we build community.
Your bud is a hope or space of anticipation you have for the coming days. Whether it’s your light at the end of a dark and twisty tunnel, or the continuation of an exciting and happy period in your life, hope and anticipation are what keep us going. They are reminders that God is good, that he sees us, and he cares for our hearts in the midst of whatever else he is asking of us. We are living in the Word when we do this, reflective of the call to anticipate the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament prophets, to anticipate the resurrection of Jesus, and to anticipate his Second Coming and victory. When we anticipate together, we build community.
Your thorn is an situation where you are frustrated, or you are struggling to find hope. By sharing these places, we can learn how to love and serve one another, pray together, and comfort one another. We are living in the Word when we do this, reflective of our call to mourn together as a part of one body.
Talking about and sharing our roses, buds and thorns builds the vulnerability trust within relationships, and is a practical way to practice loving one another.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.
Let me know if you have any really great community building resources! Stephen and I have some books in our pile I’m excited to get to. I’ll let you know what I find 🙂