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March 2023

Mar

In the Presence

Learning to Live Inside Out

Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A

Do you know what it is like to be chosen? Well, you do because you were. Our texts this week are about being chosen by God. Most of us don’t think that we were chosen, certainly not to be king like David. But surely, we chose the jobs that we do and the hobbies that we pursue and the service that we perform, didn’t we? Well, yes. But God chose too. And not just in the past tense, God is still choosing.

Note to the Teacher

The key word for this lesson is “calling.” We have a calling to be witnesses to what we have personally experienced, and we can share how God is working in the world in a variety of ways. One icebreaker invites students to consider themselves and people in their everyday lives as heroes. Another icebreaker gets students to change the status quo as Jesus did by creating new handshakes together. The discussion gets students talking about the idea of the “status quo” and how God shook the status quo by choosing David. Jesus too changes the status quo in John 9. The activity gets youth to realize the power of simple things by painting rocks for others to find. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.

1. Icebreaker: 'Kid President, Ordinary Hero' and 'Shaking Up the Handshake' (10 minutes)

Get your students to consider the value of their individual experiences with this high-tech and humorous option 1. For low-tech option 2, students get to be creative through the art of the handshake!

Option 1: High Tech

Watch this video, then have students talk about the ordinary heroes in their lives (yes, they can list themselves!). "For the Heroes: A Pep Talk From Kid President."

Option 2: Shaking Up the Handshake

Since Jesus shook up the status quo a lot, we are going to shake up the status quo of handshakes! Split the group into pairs. Have each pair develop a creative handshake. Once done, the pair splits, and each person partners with someone else. The newly formed pair then teaches each other the original handshake and then creates a new one. You can break up and pair off people as many times as you want.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our readings today show one of God’s habits: doing things in unlikely ways with those who are often forgotten or left out to open people’s minds to new possibilities. In the story of Samuel, the LORD chooses an unlikely younger son who cared for animals, David, as the new king. In the reading from the Gospel of John, news spreads as Jesus uses mud, of all things, to open the eyes of someone born blind.

3. Discussion (20 minutes)

These stories both involve God upsetting the status quo. Do a quick internet search and learn what “status quo” means.

  • What is a good synonym for status quo? Are there other ways we refer to those kinds of situations without using the term “status quo?”
  • What is the status quo around who should be king in 1 Samuel 16:1-13?
  • Did the LORD lead Samuel to follow the status quo? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about God choosing David instead of his older brothers?
  • What is the status quo around why someone would be born blind in John 9?
  • Did Jesus follow the status quo in John 9? Why not?
  • People thought in John 9 that the blind person’s parents sinned and that God was punishing them and their child because of their sin. Do you think Jesus agreed with this view, based on this reading?
  • If someone needs healing or help, do you think it makes sense to criticize them for being sick or in trouble in the first place? Explain.

Read Psalm 23.

  • Have you heard this psalm? If so, where or when have you heard it?
  • If we had to give God a profession (a job or a title) based on this psalm, what would it be and why?
  • What kind of characteristics do you think God has based on this profession?
  • How does God make the person who wrote this psalm feel?
  • Do you think you have anything in common with the writer of Psalm 23?
  • Do you think Jesus has anything in common with the writer of Psalm 23?
  • What is similar about the Shepherd God from Psalm 23 and Jesus in John 9?

So far, we have discussed how our individual actions of faith can affect the people and the world around us--actions like admitting when we are wrong and forgiving someone else of a wrong or hurt. We have talked about how movement and change in our lives are part of following God’s call and how being known by God and others can help us to feel confident in walking through life with them. Today, we discussed how God calls us in unlikely ways and at unlikely times to bring healing into the world. Why do you think it might be important for God to use a variety of people to help the world instead of the same people all the time?

4. Activity and Discussion (15 minutes)

Take this lesson to the next level by encouraging students to realize the power of everyday kindness and encouragement that is sometimes anonymous or unseen.

You will need paint and stones with a surface on which you can paint. Everyone gets at least one stone (you can do more if you have enough) to paint.

Paint an encouraging word or image that will make someone smile and lift someone up.

Tell students that Jesus used mud to open someone's eyes. We are using rocks to brighten people’s days! Tell students to leave the painted rocks in random places for others to find to make them smile and encourage them in their individual lives.

Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider praying for hopes and fears.

Total time: 50 minutes

NEEDED RESOURCES:

  • YouTube video of “Kid President’s Pep Talk for the Heroes” (high-tech icebreaker option)
  • Computer with screen and audio
  • Paint and rocks with surfaces that students will be able to paint on.

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Purple

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes