1. Opening Activity: What would you pack? (Works in person and digitally) (10-20 minutes)
Give each youth a piece of paper and writing implement. Tell them you are going to ask a question, and they should list as many answers as they can think of in ninety seconds. When you read your list, they get one point for each item they have in common with you. (There are two questions below, so you can play this twice.)
You are moving. What would you pack? Write your answers:
- digital movie files
- snow pants
- thermal sleeping bag
- long thermal underwear
- snow boots
- lots and lots of socks
- tablet (extra point for specifying “with books loaded”)
Did I forget to mention you are moving to a tiny and remote research outpost in Antarctica? How would that change what you would pack?
Let’s try again. Feel free to ask clarifying questions before you begin.
You are moving. What would you pack? This time you are moving to [choose a beloved college or university] to study musical composition because you are an accomplished guitarist with thousands of followers on YouTube, and you dream of scoring movies.
- [List some clothes appropriate to the climate for the school you chose]
- acoustic guitar
- electric guitar (extra point for anyone choosing a “Les Paul”)
- guitar picks
- music theory books
- laptop and/or computer
- sound mixer
- recording equipment
- blank sheet music
- high-definition camera
Moving can require us to change. We have to choose what we will take with us, and what we might leave behind.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Today’s scriptures both have to do with significant biblical figures who are moving on to something different. The first reading comes at the transition point in the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus shifts from teaching and preaching around the land of Israel and begins to head toward Jerusalem, where he knows he will be arrested and crucified.
Read Luke 9:51-62.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- The NRSV says that Jesus “set his face toward Jerusalem,” which is a way of saying he was determined and focused upon getting there. Why do you think it is so important to Jesus to go to Jerusalem?
- The Samaritans are not friendly toward Jesus, so the disciples ask if he wants them to burn them out, though naturally, he refuses. What are the different emotions in this story: How might the Samaritans be feeling about this popular Jewish rabbi in their town? How are the disciples feeling? What do you think Jesus feels?
- Moving and leaving are oftentimes of grief, and probably both Jesus and the disciples are feeling a bit anxious about the change they are living through. Think about significant changes in our lives today that people sometimes get anxious about. What are those times when we might be “moving on,” as Jesus is here?
- How might we feel at such times? What can we do to be calm and focused, as Jesus is?
In the Old Testament, there is another story about change and moving forward, when the prophet Elijah is about to die, and Elisha will take his place.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14.
- In this chapter, during Elijah’s last day on earth, he leads Elisha from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho to the Jordan River, well over twenty miles! What do you think of Elisha in this? Is he like a little kid who won’t leave an older one alone, or is he more like a committed friend?
- In the end, Elijah asks what Elisha might want. What does Elisha receive from Elijah?
- Why do you think it was important to Elisha that he received Elijah’s spirit and coat?
In both of these stories, the main character had to go on: Jesus had to go to Jerusalem and face death, and Elijah had to depart. Particularly in this season of Pentecost, we remember that after Jesus’ departure, he sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always.
- How is the gift of the Holy Spirit similar to Elijah’s gift to Elisha? And how is Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit important to us today?
- Has anyone ever left you with a gift that you found meaningful?
4. Activity and Discussion (10-15 minutes)
We are at the end of a school year (perhaps long past in some settings). This activity invites the youth to place themselves in Elijah’s shoes and think about what they might leave those who come after them
Think about this last year we have spent together and what we have experienced.
- What moments from the past year do you remember?
- Are there moments or experiences from the past year that help you to trust that the spirit is still present in your life, and that spirit goes with us wherever we find ourselves?
Now, think about what you might leave from this year to someone else. Maybe it is a memory; maybe it is your favorite couch cushion; maybe it is the feeling of welcome you felt here, or maybe it is some other feeling. Keep it positive but write down what you wish someone else might experience that you have experienced this year. Then put it in an envelope and pass it to me, and I’ll share it with the group.
After the bequeathments have been written, read them aloud to the group.
Close in whatever way is common to your group, though a time of prayer for one another, especially any youth who may be moving on to high school or college, is appropriate.
Total time: 45-60 minutes
- Paper, pens/pencils, envelopes