Crossing Over

Crossing Over

Transfiguration Sunday, Year B

Here we are, once again, at the cusp of a change in the season. Sometimes we treat Transfiguration as if it’s the last Sunday in the season after Epiphany, a kind of exclamation point to the Ordinary Time that takes us from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday. But this year, we chose to make this a stand-alone Sunday, which is appropriate given that this day belongs not to Ordinary Time or Lent but in the liminal space between the two.

Each of these lessons could be used for Transfiguration Sunday, or in three consecutive weeks. Choose the most appropriate and beneficial lessons for your context and organize them in any order you like.


Note to the Teacher

Our themes today are interconnectivity and legacy. The icebreaker allows students to understand what it is like to work in a team while facing challenges. The discussion allows students to think about what it means to be a part of a legacy while also touching on concepts of grief and the weight of carrying on a legacy. The activity allows students to think about how hard it is to complete tasks or uphold a good legacy when all the instructions are not there. This is a fifty-minute lesson but could be adjusted!

1. Icebreaker: Three-Legged Water Transport (10 minutes)

Option 1: Set up a beginning and ending point for a race, either inside or outside as space and weather permits. Split your group into even teams of two (if you have an odd number of students, have one or more people volunteer to go more than once). Using a piece of cloth or some kind of fabric/bandana, tie the inside legs of each pair of students together. After their legs have been tied together, give each team a cup of water that is filled one-half to two-thirds of the way.

Explain to the teams that they have to make it to the end of the course while tied together and that each member of the team must keep a hand on the cup of water at all times. The team with the most water and the shortest time at the end wins.

*For an extra challenge, make the race an obstacle course!

To complete the task successfully, students will have to use communication and teamwork.

Option 2: Show one student a picture of an elephant. Then have that student (in three minutes) describe the animal to the rest of the room without using the words “elephant,” “trunk,” “large,” or any synonym of those words.

After three minutes, have the other students draw and/or guess out loud what the first student was describing.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture for today takes place as Elijah ascends to Heaven and Elisha is called to become the prophet of the people as Elijah’s successor.

Read 2 Kings 2:1-12.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  1. We see two main characters in our scripture for today. Who are they? What do we know about their presence in the Bible?[1]
  2. In the story for today, Elisha is preparing for Elijah’s death. How do we see him do this? What do you think Elisha felt? What might he have been thinking?[2]
  3. Before Elijah ascends, Elisha asks that he may be granted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. That was kind of like asking to be twice as wise or have twice as much discernment as Elijah. Why do you think he asked this? What might Elisha have been preparing for by asking for a double share of spirit?
  4. One of the ways we might describe Elisha is as someone who was part of Elijah’s legacy. What does it mean to be part of someone’s legacy?
    1. Whose legacy might you be a part of?
    2. What kind of responsibility comes with being part of a legacy?
    3. What joy or excitement comes with being a part of a legacy?
  5. While Elisha is part of Elijah’s legacy, both Elijah and Elisha are part of God’s legacy. How do you think they fit into what we know about God?
    1. How might this story help us understand our role in God’s grand story?
    2. What good legacies were left behind for the church of today? What legacies might we want to re-imagine?
    3. What good legacies can we leave behind for those coming after us?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Split your group into two relatively even teams (Team A and Team B). The teams will be making no-bake banana split bites from[3]

For Team A, provide a printout of the instructions from for banana split bites. Also, provide the necessary ingredients. (These can be either pre-measured or not pre-measured for them.)

For Team B, provide the pre-measured ingredients but no instructions.

If possible, make it so that the teams cannot see one another. Give them twelve to fifteen minutes to complete the activity.

Afterward, discuss what it was like to complete the activity with and without the proper preparation (feel free to allow students to eat the snacks while discussing!). Tie in what it may be like to try and lead a group with and without the proper discernment/proper preparation. After the discussion, close in a way that feels natural for your group.

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • bandanas/fabric *
  • cups and water *
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  • 1 jar of Maraschino cherries
  • Milk chocolate candy discs (or pre-melted chocolate)

*Only if using option 1; if using option 2, then you just need a picture of an elephant

[1] Our characters are Elijah and Elisha. They are both prophets in the Bible. Elijah is the teacher of Elisha. Elijah was sent to tell God’s people to turn back to God and away from the idol Baal. This was a turbulent time in the life of God’s people. Elisha would have to continue Elijah’s work.

[2] If you have a group of youth who have experienced loss, this question or the text as a whole may be triggering or more difficult to engage.

[3] If your church does have access to a microwave, or if you prefer a different dessert, you can also make this graham cracker sheep recipe from


Note to the Teacher

Today’s theme is “understanding.” This theme is twofold: first to understand what psalms are and how we can interpret them, and second, to understand the lesson of this psalm. The icebreaker will help students understand and relate to what psalms are using some modern examples and contextual grounding. The scripture will set the ground for a conversation about how we understand God and how God wants us to understand the expectations of a relationship with God. The discussion questions will help walk the students through how to closely read the psalm to understand its structure and content. Finally, the activity and closing discussion will teach the students the importance of understanding rules and expectations.

1. Icebreaker (10 minutes)

Option 1:

Follow the link to this Spotify playlist. The link will open a list of songs that are like modern-day psalms of various genres. (Some are rap songs; to the best of our ability, we tried to avoid profane ones.)

Choose two or three of the songs from various genres and play them for your students.

After listening to each of the songs, discuss the mood the students felt from the song, what they thought the message was, and what genre they would classify each song.

Option 2:

Before the lesson, click on this Spotify playlist. Choose the songs you like, then Google and print out or write down part or all of the chosen song lyrics.

During the lesson, have students choose one of the sets of lyrics; allow them to spend three to five minutes reading the lyrics and highlighting the things they notice.

Afterward, have the students share what their respective songs were. Discuss the mood the students felt from reading the lyrics, what they thought the message was in the lyrics, and what genre they would classify the lyrics.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

We are reading part of Psalm 50 today for our lesson. We are reminded of the might of God and of some expectations and relationship ground rules God may set for us.

Read Psalm 50:1-6.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  1. Have you ever heard of Asaph from the Bible? Who do you think Asaph is?[1]
  2. What modern-day genre would you ascribe to Psalm 50? Why?[2]
  3. What kinds of imagery and sensory language do we notice in the reading for today?
  4. What themes and lessons might that imply for us?
  5. What sort of words about the kind of being that God is do you notice in this psalm?
  6. How is this language similar or different from how we hear God described in other parts of the Bible?
  7. What do we read about how God and God’s people are in relationship with one another?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Today’s activity is called “Green Glass Door.”[3] Tell the students you are going to take an item through the glass door and that they should also try to take an item through the door.

To begin, say the following.

“I can bring a tree through the Green Glass Door, but I cannot bring a leaf.”

Let each student take turns guessing at the things they can bring through the door.

The key is that the name of the object must have double letters, either consonants or vowels. If a player tries to take an object through the Green Glass Door that does not have a double letter, say:

“You cannot take that through the Green Glass Door.” If the word does follow the double-letter rule, you may say, “Yes! That can come through the Green Glass Door.”

More often than not, students will begin to catch on. As they do, they are not supposed to tell the other students what the rule is until the game is over.

Play the game for as many rounds as ten minutes will allow. After ten minutes, ask the students what the rule is concerning what can go through the Green Glass Door. See what they say and ask them how they determined that.

Ask how students who may not have figured out the rule felt as their peers began to figure out how to play the game but couldn’t tell them?

Discuss what happens when everyone understands the rules and expectations of a game. Spend some time explaining that part of Psalm 50 is the author talking about God’s expectations for God’s people. We as God’s people are to understand God’s expectations of us and God’s being-ness as well.

If time allows, play another round of the “Green Glass Door” with everyone knowing the rules. Ask how the game feels different. Discuss how we might engage God differently when we understand God and God’s expectations of us.

After the discussion, close in a way that is natural for your group.

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • Access to a computer/TV/screen of some sort or printed lyrics

[1] Asaph was one of those in the service of the court of King David and King Solomon; scholars assert that he was the chief musician under their reigns. Twelve psalms in the Bible are attributed to what is known as “Asaphic” authorship.

[2] Psalm 50 is a liturgical psalm. It is meant for public worship. If it were a modern-day song, it would probably be a gospel song or song in a similar worship music genre!

[3] If your group has played this game before, or if all of your students know the rules of this game, follow the link to and choose one of the alternative game options!


Note to the Teacher

Today’s lesson is about the Transfiguration of Jesus. The Transfiguration is sometimes hard to understand. This lesson is designed to make the Transfiguration understandable, memorable, and fun! The students will open by transforming or transfiguring boring white items into something dazzling. Then, after reading scripture, the students will spend time grasping what is happening at the Transfiguration and how it ushers in a new season for the folks in our story. Finally, the students will close by playing the change game and thinking more deeply about the nuances that change and newness can bring.

1. Icebreaker (10 minutes)

Option 1: Before Sunday, make sure you have white t-shirts ranging in the proper sizes for your students and markers that work well on fabric. On Sunday morning, give each student a t-shirt and tell students they have eight minutes to transform the t-shirt into something dazzling and different! After the eight minutes, spend a few minutes having the students share their creations and explaining why they chose the design they did.

Option 2: Give each student a blank white sheet of paper, an assortment of craft supplies to decorate it, and markers or colored pencils. Tell them they will have eight minutes to transform the paper into something different and dazzling. After eight minutes, have the students explain why they designed their papers the way they did.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Today, we are going to read about the Transfiguration of Jesus. Transfiguration means to completely change the appearance of something into a more beautiful state (or sometimes spiritual state). Read Mark 9:2-9.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  1. Who is in the scripture this morning? What do we know about these people?
    1. Have we read about any of these characters recently?
    2. Why do you think we might be seeing them in our reading today?
  2. What is happening in our reading this morning? What would that have meant for the folks in our story today?
  3. While Jesus is present throughout the story, we see that there is some sort of shift in Jesus before and after the mountain experience. What do we think this shift might mean? Why might that matter to the story and to the people present in the story?
  4. As we see this shift in Jesus, it seems as though he and his disciples are entering a new season together when they come down the mountain.
    1. What happens when seasons change in the environment?
    2. What does the idea of entering a new season mean to you?
    3. Do we ever see seasons change in the church? What happens when they do?
    4. In our story, Jesus is moving from one season to another with the Transfiguration. The word “transfiguration” can be a bit confusing, but it is similar to the word “metamorphosis.” What other things can we think of that go through a metamorphosis? With these things in mind, how might we understand the word “transfiguration” as it relates to Jesus?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

For today’s activity, we will play the “change game.” Have your students group into pairs. After they are paired, send one person from each pair out of the room. Have the person from each pair change something about his/her appearance. (Give them about 30 to 45 seconds to do so.) Then have the other students come back in and guess what was changed about their partners’ appearance. (Give them 10 to 15 seconds to guess.) Repeat this for several rounds.

  • Afterward, talk to the students about how it felt seeing things change over and over again. (Was it easy? Was it stressful?)
  • How did students figure out what their partners were changing each time?
  • Based on this experience, how do you think the disciples felt when Jesus changed before their eyes?
  • As part of our game, you had to guess what changed. In the scripture passage, Jesus instructs the disciples not to tell other people. Why do you think he told them this?
  • Sometimes change can be fun; sometimes it can be difficult or tiring. How do we see and understand change in our story today? How might it help us in seasons or moments of change that are hard for us?
  • What might our story remind us about following Christ even in moments or seasons of change in our lives?

As time permits, ask any other questions that feel natural and fitting for your group before closing in a way that is natural and normal for your group.

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • White t-shirts or white paper
  • Fabric markers or craft supplies

[1] Visualizing this can be tough. If time permits, watch the video at from the beginning until the time code 1:54 (one minute and fifty-four seconds into the video).

In This Series...

Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes


  • Gold
  • White

In This Series...

Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes