Creation Waits

Nothing Shall Separate Us

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost, Year A

“We are debtors.” That’s the opening statement for our text this week. We are debtors. We’ll focus more on the text in our preaching notes, but here we will state that the obvious learning from this statement is that we are not alone.

July 19, 2020 – Romans 8:12-25

Note to the Teacher

The goal of this series is to remind everyone that the community is bigger than what you can see in the sanctuary. Connection is more than the faces around them; it is the presence of the virtual community, live or delayed that represents the ever-present God who calls us together as one. Nothing shall separate us.

Today’s passage will focus on our obligation to use our lives to work for the bright future God promises in the Bible. We will explore how our lives are knit together both with other people and with creation itself.

1. Icebreaker: Hope Yes, And! (10 minutes)

This activity will help students share their hopes in a way that encourages them to see how they share hopes with others. The principle at work here is one of improv comedy: “Yes, and . . .” You agree with what was said before you and then add something else to it.

For this activity ask students to make a short list of their hopes (both big and small). After they have had time to come up with some hopes, tell them that you want one person to share one of their hopes. Once they have shared the hope, anyone who also hopes for the same thing will say, “Yes I hope for [the hope the other student just shared] AND I also hope for [their own hope].” Then a student who agrees with that hope adds their own and it continues until everyone has shared several of their hopes.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

This scripture can be a little complicated. Consider having multiple students read it aloud.

READ: Romans 8:12-25

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

This passage begins talking about an obligation. We are obligated because of the gift we have been given through Jesus Christ.

  • When was a time when you were obligated to do something for someone? What did they do to make you owe them?
  • What do you think is the reason Paul says we are obligated to live by the Spirit? What was done for/given to us?

That obligation is not just to God, but it is to other people and to creation itself.

  • How does God’s gift of love and salvation connect us to other people?
  • How does it connect us to the earth/creation?

The passage ends with hope. It is the hope that calls us forward into new action within our relationships to each other and the earth.

  • What are some hopes you have in the way we treat each other?
  • What are some hopes you have in the way we treat the earth?
  • What does this passage say about those hopes? [It tells us that we are obligated to work in the Spirit towards those Godly hopes]

4. Activity and Discussion: Obligated to Social Media Campaigns (20 minutes)

The obligations Paul talks about are obligations to build the future God is calling us into both in relationship with each other and in relationship with creation. This activity will help students create a social media campaign to encourage the kind of action that we are called to as we live life in the Spirit.

Explain to the students that they are going to be creating a series of three to five images that students can post to social media to encourage people to live the way God would want them to in their relationship with others and creation. Begin by getting students to team up with others based on their preference. Do they want to make a creation-focused or people-focused campaign? Once they are divided into pairs or somewhat equal groups tell the students to follow these steps:

  • Choose a single action or issue to highlight (like bullying, recycling, etc.)
  • Come up with three to five short phrases that are catchy and encourage people to take the action you are desiring.
  • Find an appropriate image and use an app like Adobe Spark Post or Word Swag to combine the text and images into three to five shareable graphics.
  • If there is a related organization that is working on this issue already, invite students to find a way to direct people to meaningful resources on that site in the image descriptions.

Once they are finished, invite them to share their social media campaigns with the group and invite the other students to share the images on their feeds.

50 minutes

In This Series...

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Eighth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes