Note to the Teacher
This week will focus on inviting students to notice signs of God’s love, grace, and presence around them. The icebreaker helps them notice actual signs and follow them. The discussion explores the story of a sign given to Joseph. The activity invites students to use their imagination as they prepare to see God throughout the next week.
1. Icebreaker (10 minutes)
Sticky-note scavenger hunt
This icebreaker will introduce the idea of God giving signs we need to notice. Before you begin, get a pack of sticky notes and create directions or clues that lead students from their typical meeting spot to another space. Make a large sign in the room that says, “Notice the signs (and follow them).” Let students come into the room and then leave to go to the final meeting place. Let students notice the sticky notes and follow the clues.
2. Read Matthew 1:18-25 (5 minutes)
Have a student read the passage slowly. Invite the other students to close their eyes as they listen.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
There is a big, obvious sign from God here: the angel talking to Joseph. But what are all the signs that are part of this story but not explicitly mentioned? For example, what are the signs a person is pregnant? What would be a sign that Joseph was angry about it? What is a sign of marriage or an engagement?
- I think we would all agree that angels talking to people or God speaking directly to or through people would be met with a lot of skepticism today. If those kinds of signs aren’t as frequent, what kinds of “God signs” do we see today? What signs have you seen that say God is really present and active?
- Tell the story of a time you saw (or thought you saw) a sign of God’s presence or action in your life. How did it make you feel at the time? Are you doing anything different in your life now because of that experience? How did it feel to share the story?
- What parts of your life do you wish God to be at work in the next week?
- Where do you think people have the best chances to see or experience God’s presence or action?
- Do you think signs from God are usually very clear? Or are signs from God a bit more puzzling and take time to make sense of? Why?
4. Activity and Discussion - Guided Imagery Meditation (20 minutes)
Ask students to get comfortable. Tell them you are going to get them to use their imaginations. Ask them to close their eyes and then invite them to think about what is going to happen when they leave the room/place where they are presently. Invite them to walk that path in their heads. Tell them to look around. What do they see? What do they hear? What do they smell? What is happening? Now, where might they look for a sign from God? Continue walking them through the day and the next week with similar prompts along the way. Where is God? What is God doing? Where might the look for a sign?
Close with time for students to share where they think they might see a sign of God’s presence/action in the next week.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Sticky notes