18

July 2021

Jul

He Is Our Peace

Geared Up For Life

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

What does it mean to be the dwelling place or a dwelling place for God? How can we present the church and/or the community of faith of something worthy of that designation? In this second chapter of Ephesians, this is the description that we are given of the church: the dwelling place of God. God takes up residence among us. What does it mean to be God’s home?

Note to Teacher

Today we plunge into the next level of the message we began last week. Here, we take the fact that we are loved and chosen and discover that being loved and chosen extends beyond us. God breaks down walls that separate people from God’s movement, so that ALL can be part of it.

Ice Breaker: Slap it or eat it?

Before you begin, list pairs of items (see below) on a whiteboard or tape pieces of paper to a wall with one pair per piece of paper. Get a Nerf ball or Nerf gun as well. Once the students have assembled, explain that they are going to throw (or shoot) the Nerf at the wall, and whatever item pair the Nerf hits, the students have to explain which item they would slap away and which item they would eat. For example, students might choose to slap a raw egg because they don’t want to get salmonella, or they might choose to eat it because they don’t want to waste food.

Item pairs:

  1. Butter/buttermilk
  2. 1 cup mayonnaise/2 tablespoons hot sauce
  3. A slice of chocolate cake with a tiny piece of mold/a sardine sandwich
  4. A ground up Tylenol/a spoon of basil
  5. Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich/a baseball made of white bread
  6. A cup of maple syrup/a cup of ketchup
  7. Entire large Icee to be drunk in 60 seconds/a bowl of liver soup
  8. A can of wet cat food/a cup of dry dog food
  9. An entire raw onion eaten like an apple/a brown banana

Virtual option: If you are online, use a random number generator to make the selection for the students from the list. Simply googling “random number generator” will pull up what you need.

Bible Reading

Ephesians 2:11-14

Consider drawing a line in the middle of the room and asking students to sit on either side of the line in a row facing the people on the other side. Read Ephesians 2:11-14 twice. The first time, have the students on one side imagine they are the Jewish people in the first century who had been excluding non-Jewish people their whole life. The other side will imagine they are the ones who have been excluded their entire lives. When you read the passage the second time, have the students switch sides.

Virtual option: Assign attendees the “side” they should listen from in the chat. Or, if your platform allows, create breakout rooms, so that the two groups really do hear the scripture for the first time separately; then have them come back together to discuss.

Discussion

  • What did those verses feel like when you were part of the “in group” of Jewish people in the first century?
  • What did it feel like when you were the “out” group?
  • How do you think people responded to this on both sides?
  • In our town (school, state, country, etc.), do you think there are “in” and “out” groups? Who? How? Why?
  • Are there things some people do to make others feel that they are not welcome in church?
  • Are there things that some people think makes them unwelcome at church? Perhaps, specifically at our own church?
  • When have you or one of your friends felt unwelcome at a church?
  • How do these verses tell us God wants us to respond to things that are separating people from church?

Activity

We are going to build a wall using sheets of paper taped together. On each sheet of paper, we will write one thing that makes some people feel like they can’t be part of a church. Then, we will tape all those pieces together into a wall that someone will hold up. Once the wall is in the air, ask students to read the things out loud that are part of the wall. Then have someone read Ephesians 2:14 and invite the students to tear through the wall.

Virtual option: If you are meeting online, invite students to divide a piece of paper into square blocks and put one reason people feel unwelcome in church in each square. After they have finished, read the squares and the same verse as above and invite students to tear the paper.

Closing

Close in the manner that is typical for your group.

Supplies Needed:

  • Pieces of paper and tape or a whiteboard
  • Nerf ball or gun
  • Pens or markers

In This Series...


Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes