Week 2: See All the People
Three pictures of “Where is Jesus,” either printed or on a screen
Printed stained-glass window template and colored pencils, markers, or crayons for the activity
Note to the Teacher:
Today is the second Sunday after Pentecost. Our theme is “See All The People.” Throughout the Gospel, Jesus interacts and heals people with whom he normally wouldn’t be expected to associate. Jesus makes it clear that his responsibility as a faithful and loving follower of God wasn’t just to the people who looked and thought as he did, but also to those who were often overlooked and forgotten.
The key idea in this lesson and scripture is to see all the people, just as Jesus sees us! We will be talking about how we can be better at seeing all the people around us rather than just the people directly in front of us or in our immediate communities. For the ice breaker, we will be playing a game of Where’s Jesus, modeled after the game of Where’s Waldo. The discussion encourages students to consider how Jesus can be found in places we might not consider him to be. It will help them to look for Jesus in unlikely places. The discussion will open up conversations about how we are seen by God, even when we feel that we are alone and how God promises to look for us and see us, even when we are sad or hurting. This discussion will allow youth to consider how they can see others around them and be intentional at looking to see all the people. The activity will focus on putting into perspective how we are all seen by God and how we can see all people and try to connect with them. We will be using images of stained-glass windows to help us consider how different pieces can come together in community to become something beautiful. This activity should take about fifty minutes but can be adjusted as needed.
Total Time: 50 minutes
1. Ice Breaker: Where is Jesus? (10 minutes)
Linked here are pictures of busy scenes full of people. The idea of the ice breaker is to take a moment to find Jesus in each of the scenes. Look hard, because Jesus could be anywhere, even in the most unlikely places (hint, hint).
Setup: Either print out the pictures and have students work in pairs or teams, or put the pictures in a PowerPoint presentation if the group is not all physically together. The PowerPoint presentation may also be projected in your Sunday school classroom if you have the set up for that.
Instructions: We will look for Jesus in these three pictures. As you are looking for Jesus, notice all the other people in each picture. Instead of overlooking the people who aren’t Jesus, try to imagine what role they play in the picture. What are they doing? What are their jobs? Could Jesus be hanging out with them? When you find Jesus, wait to tell the class until everyone has looked at the pictures.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Read Matthew 9:35-10:8 to learn about how Jesus calls us to be in community with him and see the people around us so we can invite them on this journey with us.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- One of the most comforting promises that God gives us is that God will always see us and be with us. This means that even when we are alone or isolated or distant from others, we are not forgotten because God promises to be with us. How can we remind ourselves of this great promise when we feel alone or unseen?
- We know that God always sees us, but do you think that we are good at seeing one another? Why or why not?
- What are some things that can help us see one another better? Our neighbors, our enemies, our annoying siblings, our classmate who is often left out, the new kid in our neighborhood?
- We talked a great deal about community last week. How can we build communities that make sure people are seen?
- Sometimes seeing people means realizing that they may think or act different than we do, and that’s OK! We are all unique; being good neighbors doesn’t mean we have to be the same to be seen. How can we make sure that we don’t let our bias stop us from seeing others?
- Let’s talk about the ice breaker game we played: “Where is Jesus?” What surprised you about where we found Jesus? Did you expect him to stand out more? Blend in more?
- How can we remember to always look for Jesus in our communities?
- How can we teach ourselves to see the image of God in the face of everyone we come into contact with and meet?
- Let’s imagine something new. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable. Now picture a beautiful stained-glass window. Can you see all the vibrant colors of red and green and purple and yellow? Can you see the rainbow of colors shining through all the different colored pieces of glass? Now try to imagine that the stained-glass window had no color; it was just clear glass. You miss the beauty of the stained glass, don’t you?
- One of the reasons we keep talking about community is that we need to see all the people to make sure that all the colors are represented in the stained-glass window of the gospel. To see the beautiful and whole picture of who God is, we need to work at seeing all the people.
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
We have just finished talking about beautiful stained-glass windows. We recognize that to see the pictures and colors of these pieces of art come alive, we must see all the many colors, just as we need to see all the people in our communities. For our closing activity, we will be painting our own stained-glass window and reminding ourselves to see all people and to see the image of God in those with whom we come in contact (click here to download the stained glass template).
Take the next few minutes to color each pane of “glass” with whatever color you think is needed. Be creative; add all the color you’d like! There is no wrong color.
As you’re coloring, think about what colors you may be missing. Think about people we often overlook around us. Perhaps it’s a classmate or a younger sibling. Perhaps it’s a homeless man we see at a street corner every time we pass by. How can we see the image of God in these people we sometimes forget to see? How can we be better about seeing them?
Invite students to share their windows and describe how they reveal the image of God.
Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns from the students; then ask for a volunteer to close in prayer.