Note to Teacher
This week begins with an important phrase in the book of Ephesians, “For this reason . . .”. What is the reason? It’s what we have talked about the last two weeks! It is as if this passage begins by saying, “because we are loved and chosen and because God has broken down the things that separate us . . .”. Now, because of that, the writer of Ephesians is praying that we would be strengthened to live into that reality fully.
Ice Breaker: Pet Peeves
We are going to spend some time sharing our pet peeves in a fun way. Rather than merely saying what they are, we are going to come up with a pet-like name or nickname that describes our pet peeve. If you have enough time, it can be fun to allow students to create a drawing that accompanies the name. For example, someone who hates the sound of scratching nails on a chalkboard might come up with the name “Scratchy McChalkykins” or “Spot the Scratchmaster.”
Once students have come up with the names, invite them to share those names (and the pet peeves) with the group.
This passage is full of words that are easily acted out in postures or hand motions. Invite students to act out the words as someone reads. For example, they could kneel when the passage says “bow my knees,” put their hands together when the passage says pray, and flex their arm muscles when it says strengthen.
- This passage begins with an important phrase that people often pass over: “For this reason.” What does the writer mean? Why do you think the writer begins the passage that way? What are the reasons? (See note to teacher above.)
- After hearing students’ answers, say something like, “Those reasons are key because when the writer is praying for us to be strengthened, it is so that we can do the things we have already talked about.”
- When have you experienced having a hard time loving someone?
- When were you doing something that made it difficult for people to be around you?
- Say something like, “This passage talks about being filled with God’s love. When we are filled with God’s love, what comes out of us is God’s love. How can we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s love?”
Before you meet, either gather a large number of helium balloons or a party tank of helium and empty balloons to fill as part of the activity. In addition to the balloons, get a range of small objects (paper clips, a toy car, a spool of thread), paper, ribbon or twine, pens, and tape.
Begin by giving students an empty balloon and asking them to blow up the balloons but not tie them. While they are blowing up the balloons, set out the range of objects on the ground. Ask the students whether they think their balloons could lift the objects. If someone wants to try, allow that person to do so, although, he/she will fail.
Now reveal that you have a helium tank (or already filled balloons) and ask the students to estimate how many helium-filled balloons each item will take to lift. Once they have made their estimations, set them loose to test and make a list of the items and how many balloons it took to lift them.
When they have finished, ask them about how this activity relates to the Bible passage. Prompt questions could include:
- How is the helium like God’s Spirit?
- What could the items you lifted symbolize?
- How many “balloons” do you think God has to lift others up?
Virtual option: If you are meeting on Zoom, you can do this activity as a demonstration with students making guesses and watching as you attach helium-filled balloons to the items in your space.
Close in the manner that is typical for your group.
- Helium balloons or party tank of helium and balloons
- A range of small objects such as paper clips, a toy car, a spool of thread
- Ribbon or twine