Psalm 95: 1-11, Make a Joyful Noise and Worship!
Note to the Teacher
Let’s take a moment during our Lenten journey with our students and give praise and thanks back to God. Praise and thanks for what, some of you might be asking? While it is true that Lent is a time for quiet reflection, spiritual scrutiny, penance, and soul prepping. It is also a time to give profound thanks to God for a gift that he has given us amid our Lenten journey, and that’s the gift of worship! We praise God and worship him for what he is doing, because what he is doing is much more than just having us reflect upon our sin and repent. God is providing a way back to him. Lent is all about our journey back to righteous standing in the eyes of God! Lent might be somber at times, but the call to make a joyful noise and worship God is still ever-present, for our toiling and faith will not be in vain. A savior is on the way, Praise God! The Ice Breaker will show student’s how difficult it is to communicate sometimes, especially when a message goes through a lot of different channels. The Discussion invites students to consider their Lenten journey as something joyful and worthy of praising and worship God. The Activity will have students being transparent and open with God about how Lent is going so far. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.
Description of activity (time)
1. Ice Breaker: Lost in Translation (10 minutes)
How to play: For this game you will need your group to be seated in a circle. Give everyone a piece of paper and a pen. As the leader of the group you are going to need a piece of paper and a pen as well. You will start things off by writing something on the piece of paper you have. You will show your piece of paper to the person sitting to your left. Make sure to show it to them in a way where nobody else in the circle can see it. That person will then have to draw out what it is that you wrote down. Then they will show their drawing to the person on their left. That person will then have to write down what it is they thought the other person drew. Then cycle repeats itself until it gets back to the person who started the game. Once you’re finished, show what you wrote down initially and then go around the circle while people share and justify why they wrote or drew what they did. To keep the game moving you can put a time limit on the people who are doing drawings.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our Psalm today is a call to Worship and to praise God with thanksgiving. A little bit in contrast to what we normally think of doing during Lent, but we’ll discuss today why our acts of Worship are an important part of the Lenten journey.
Read Psalm 95: 1-11.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
What is your earliest memory of being in Worship in church? What can you recall about it, what you saw, did/didn’t do, how you felt, even what you smelt?
- If you had to define worship, how would you do it?
- Is worship something that we only do on Sunday?
- Our call to worship is not just about singing songs and praying prayers, it’s a lifestyle that brings glory and praise to God. How can we live our life to be worship to God?
- When was a time that something you did or had done to you was difficult, but even in the difficulty you were thankful that it was happening or had happened?
- Lent can be difficult. It’s not easy being reminded of our sinful nature and inability to overcome that sin on our own. But what difficult parts about Lent can we be thankful and praise God for?
- What are other things that you can think of that are difficult, but you think are worth it?
- It is so much easier to persevere through difficult things when you know what the outcome will be. Lent can be a difficult journey, but what lies at the end of this journey that makes it all worth it?
- Lent is a journey to Grace. We are transformed during our journey of Lent to a people ready and hungry for the release grace gives us from the sin we are repenting of. What do you think is more difficult: going through the journey of Lent or not going taking the journey of Lent and continuing to live the same as you were before grace?
- Why do you think some people decide to choose the weight of sin over the liberation of grace?
- Sure, Lent is difficult, but without the journey of Lent we wouldn’t face the despair of Good Friday, the anxious waiting on Saturday, and the glorious resurrection of the risen Christ on Easter Sunday! Lent is hard, but freedom from sin and shame more than makes it worth it. How will you continue the rest of your Lenten journey, pouring out praise to God for what he is preparing for you and me on Easter Sunday?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Lenten Reflection: Give each student a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Tell them that they’re writing a letter as if it was addressed to God, telling God about all the things they experienced and gone through during their Lenten journey so far. Tell them to be honest in their writings. This is only between them and God. Are they having a difficult time? Are they struggling to get into Lent this year? Are they thankful for this journey? Do they feel overcome by their own sin? Really, anything goes in this letter. After they finish have the students find a spot in the room and pray over what they have written, going to God for whatever it is they need. It would also be good to let students know that they can also come talk to you about anything that they are felling as well.
- Pieces of paper for writing (for ice breaker and activity)
- Writing utensils (for ice breaker and activity)