Note to the Teacher
Today we continue following Paul’s teachings about the Resurrection. Again, apparently this was a BIG DEAL to the church in Corinth. Paul continues to present an argument for understanding the idea of new life, a resurrected life. In this passage, Paul points to transformation, that a resurrected life or body must look different from what came before. The opening activity is a classic youth ministry game called “two truths and a lie.” The scripture we read elaborates on the resurrected body and how we are called to continue to grow in our faith this side of heaven. The activity has students reimagining the Apostles Creed. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ (10 minutes)
If your group is the right size to allow everyone a turn within ten minutes, great! If your group is larger, split into subgroups according to their birth month. (January-April, May-August, September-December, and adjust as necessary) Now choose someone with the closest birthday to today to begin. That person tells the group two truths and one lie about himself/herself. (Not in that exact order, of course!) After that person has said the three things, the rest of the group tries to guess which statement was the lie. Go around the group until everyone has had the opportunity to participate; then ask the following questions:
- Was it easy or hard to guess? Why?
- What were some things that made it easier to determine if they were telling the truth or not?
Transition to the scripture by saying something like the following. “Today we are continuing to look at Paul’s words to the Corinthian church about the resurrection of Jesus. The early church was clearly struggling with the idea of the Resurrection and what that meant for their faith and future. In fact, the stories of coming back from the dead and that we could do the same may indeed have felt like an item in ‘two truths and a lie,’ if they were playing that game. Paul argues that we are mortal, still subject to death, until this ‘resurrection and transformation’ takes place within us, turning us into a new creation that God has worked in us.”
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
In our scripture reading today, Paul seeks to make the point that Resurrection is real, not some ethereal, ghostly undead kind of life. Resurrection is so much more. Invite your students to read the following scripture passage, and as they do, to make notes or comments on a small index card. Now have the leader reread the passage and move to the discussion questions.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- Paul puts a lot of contrasting pairs in this passage. Which pairs can you find, and do they make sense as contrasts or not? (For example, sown in dishonor, raised in glory; bear an earthly image, bear a spiritual image)
- Do you think this passage helped the Corinthians better understand the Resurrection or not? What is still confusing about the Resurrection after reading last week and this week?
- What questions do you have about what happens after you die? (Leader note – The early church and Paul—and even us today—still have these same questions. It is good to have questions! It means you’re seeking answers and wanting to grow in your faith!)
- What analogy does Paul use about the resurrected body in verses 36-38? (Leader note – The metaphor of the seed gives us some insight into what is going on in the Resurrection. The seed is planted; it “dies”; and what grows is something different. The seed doesn’t wake up or reimagine itself. It is transformed by the process of creation. The body is changed, Paul argues, and what appears is different from what died. At the same time, there are some things about the body that are consistent with who Jesus was before the resurrection, like when Jesus invites the disciples to inspect and touch the wounds in his hands and side. This would be consistent with Jesus’ changed appearance after his Resurrection, and this provides a metaphor that may feel familiar to youth.
- What Paul claims about Resurrection is that we become a new creation. Invite youth to think about how they become a new creation every day because they are growing in their faith and maturing as disciples. How is the idea of new life connected with the resurrection? How does that make you feel?
- The Apostles Creed has a line in it that says, “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” Does your church use the Apostles’ Creed in worship? What do you think that line means? Why do you think some churches recite this as a part of their shared beliefs?
Transition to the closing activity by saying, “Paul seeks to make the point that Resurrection is real and not some ghostly, scary thing. We can and we should experience the power of the Resurrection in our daily lives and hold on to that spirit that provides for transformation.”
4. Activity and Discussion: ‘Reimagining the Apostles Creed – Journaling Experience’ (20 minutes)
Explain to your students that today they are going to look at the Apostles Creed. First, ask your students if any of them can recite the Apostles Creed. If any can, have a few snacks or prizes to hand out to those who can recite the whole thing. Here it is for reference:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Tell students that they are going to rewrite (or to inspire more creativity, use “reimagine”) the Apostles Creed in their own words so that they can better understand it. This may take a little bit of time. Encourage youth to use dictionaries, encyclopedias, and biblical resources to help with vocabulary choices. If youth are unfamiliar with the Apostles’ Creed, provide them some basic information in addition to their searches. (For example, the Apostles’ Creed has three sections, each one stating beliefs about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The word “catholic” is not capitalized, so that word means “universal” as opposed to something like Roman Catholic. Pilate is referenced to provide a date range and context, not necessarily because he is super-important himself.)
Also, come alongside them to provide guiding questions related to which lines seem to be the most important or impactful. Depending on the size of your group, you may want to allow students to work together. Give everyone about ten to twelve minutes to complete the work, and then ask for students to share. You may want to put on some quiet concentration music while students work.
Applaud the students for their work and re-read the traditional Apostles Creed from start to finish. If you have a physical or virtual space where their work can be posted and shared, do so – and encourage youth to share their version and what they understand about the Apostles Creed in the week ahead. Close by asking the following questions:
- Where have you seen God at work in your life?
- Where have you seen God at work in the lives of those around you?
- How can we allow God to continue to transform our lives in the days and weeks to come?
Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Pens or pencils
- Index cards (1 per person)
- Paper (1 per person)