Note to the Teacher
The key theme in this lesson is “Humbly Seeing Others.” The icebreaker ensures that everyone participates and has a voice. The discussion encourages students to think about what it means to feel unseen or unheard. The students are asked to think about humility in loving folks who may feel that they do not have a voice. The activity takes a proactive approach at caring for those who feel unseen. The activity also seeks to be proactive in humility. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Icebreaker: How Bad Would It Be? (10 minutes)
This exercise is designed to get everyone talking, but it could easily get out of hand. Begin by making a statement such as, “How bad would it be . . . if I fell asleep?” The next person in the group then adds on, saying something like, “How bad would it be if I fell asleep in a tree?” It just keeps going and going and going. An added plus if you can challenge everyone to NOT laugh.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture today continues with the prophet Amos. Amos was a shepherd who lived in the eighth century BCE. We’ve read several passages from Amos in this series. Amos is once again preaching judgment upon the people who have promised to care for the needy and poor but have not done so.
Read Amos 8:1-12.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- This vision starts with a basket of ripe, summer fruit. In your experience, how long do fruits stay ripe? Fruit really is best for consumption when it is ripe. What happens after a fruit’s stage of being ripe comes to an end?
- The Hebrew word for “a basket of summer fruit” [probably figs] (qayits) sounds a lot like the word for “end” (qets). The vision Amos sees has to do with the end. Why is judgment coming on the people? Who have they not “seen”?
- In our world today, there are many people who feel unseen, unheard. Have you ever felt unseen? What might it feel like to not be noticed? Are there people in our community who may be easy to overlook or not understand?
- What are some ways that your church or community or school tries to help people open their eyes to see/hear people who otherwise might feel unseen and unheard?
- What are ways that you have been successful in seeing and hearing things in your community that most others miss? What do you have to teach our group or the church about how we could do that better together?
- This passage can be difficult to digest. Try reading it in a new translation and see if you hear anything different this time. Try using Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrase. You can find it here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Amos%208%3A1-12&version=MSG.
Read Amos 8:1-12 in a different translation.
- What did you hear that you didn’t hear in the first translation? What changed? What caused you to hear it this time?
- In The Message, Amos 8:7 begins like this: “God swears against the arrogance of Jacob.” How would you define arrogance? Why is it that God doesn’t like arrogance?
- How would you define humility? What does humility look like in a leader? The leaders Amos is addressing in this passage seem to be low on humility. Why can it be important to be humble when helping others?
- How might you humbly help someone who feels unseen or unheard this week?
- Do you think being humble is a sign of strength or weakness? How might humility look different for different people?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
- Continue to engage the ideas of humility and looking out for those who feel unseen.
- Pass out calendars for the month. Have students note things they can do a few days a week to look for people in school, on teams, at work, or elsewhere who have the potential of being overlooked, unheard, or misunderstood. Ask which activities students think they can realistically try for a month. Ask them which activities might require them to experience humility by putting themselves in situations that are different from where they normally find themselves.
- Share the calendars when the students have finished. They may share some things that other students will want to write down.
- Encourage youth to try to do one or two of the ideas they came up with. Follow up with them a month from now to ask what they learned and whether the youth group can do anything to help the unseen, the unheard, or the un-cared-for be better supported.
- Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Writing utensils
- Printed calendars (try here: https://www.vertex42.com/calendars/printable-calendars.html)